“We’re now being asked again to bail out a project that, in this case, is way over budget,” Pokress said. “Why is it an impossibility for this town, like every household here in Andover that is faced with a financial issue where you have an unexpected cost or a major cost that comes in, that you have to adjust your expectations and cut out certain things in order to deal with that cost override?”
The additional money will add $24 to the average residential tax bill during the peak year of debt repayment. The debt is expected to be repaid over the next 20 years.
Whether voters were frustrated with the predicament or not, School Building Committee chairman Tom Deso said he appreciated the support.
“I was happy to see the amount of people that came out. I thought it was very well attended, considering it was a one-issue meeting,” he said. “I was surprised.”
The School Building Committee will meet tomorrow, Wednesday morning, to award the first of the remaining 18 contracts for the project. The first contract will pay for curtain wall and metal panels on the school, two portions of the building’s exterior, according to Deso.
The rest of the contracts will be awarded by the end of the month, prior to the expiration dates on the bids that have been submitted, he said.
After the meeting, officials will gather at the construction site for a topping-off ceremony, where the final steel support will be installed on the building’s frame. That is one of several milestones still ahead for the school, according to Principal Malcolm Forsman.
“Now, it’s just, ‘watch the shell be put on and go from there,’” Forsman said.
The building is expected to open for the 2014-15 academic school year.