EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 2, 2013

Two articles to change Youth Center plan

Changes to likely come to Special Town Meeting

By Dustin Luca
dluca@eagletribune.com

---- — ANDOVER — Two articles to change the Cormier Youth Center construction project are coming to town voters, and they could appear on February’s Special Town Meeting warrant.

The articles seek to make two minor changes to the project, according to Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski.

The first one will move the physical location of the building by around 30 feet because of wetland concerns, Stapczynski said. The other will change the wording of 2011’s Special Town Meeting vote to reflect a new plan for building the youth center in phases.

Around $800,000 is still needed to build the full building, as it was presented to voters in 2011. In order to start building this summer, the project is being broken up into phases to build with the money the Andover Youth Foundation has today. The building would be finished as the final funds come in.

The article seeking to change the wording of the vote will modify the size of the building, presented to voters as 20,000 square feet. With the building being built in phases, the vote needs to be changed to reflect how big the first phase is, according to Stapczynski.

With the project being built in phases, a 9,500-square-foot gym will be built further down the road, leaving at least 10,000 square feet of the building — including activity spaces, lounge and lobby space, and more — to be built in the first phase.

The Andover Youth Foundation has the money to build the first phase of the project today, according to Chairwoman Diane Costagliola.

The rest would come later “when the money is available,” Stapczynski said.

Stapczynski said he hopes the articles will come to Special Town Meeting on Feb. 11, 2013 since waiting until Annual Town Meeting which starts on April 29 will impact the project’s timeline.

“The building committee wants to break ground as soon as they possibly can,” Stapczynski said. “What they want to do is the ideal situation, going out to bid on construction this summer. By putting it off three months to the (Annual Town Meeting), that puts off the whole bidding and construction time frame.”

A Special Town Meeting is being called to address a multi-million dollar budget gap facing the Bancroft Elementary School project. After around a year of appeals and court litigation delaying the project, construction cost increases put the project out of line with original cost estimates.

Current estimates put the budget gap at around $5 million, but it could come in higher or lower as the School Building Committee finishes gathering information and construction bids ahead of Feb. 11.

For more Andover news, follow @DustinLucaET on Twitter. For story-related inquiries, email dluca@eagletribune.com.