EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 4, 2013

Brooks School boosts Kittredge gymnasium project by $30K

By Paul Tennant
ptennant@eagletribune.com

---- — NORTH ANDOVER — It’s a case of one school helping another.

Brooks School, a private academy with a large campus off Great Pond Road, has committed to donate $30,000 to help build a gymnasium for Kittredge School.

Brooks Headmaster John Packard presented the first installment, a $10,000 check, to the selectmen Monday night. He was accompanied by former state Rep. David Torrisi, D-North Andover, a Brooks alumnus.

Packard told The Eagle-Tribune yesterday Brooks will also contribute $10,000 in each of the next two fiscal years. The headmaster said Torrisi called him several weeks ago, “wondering whether the school would be interested in helping” Kittredge get a full-fledged gymnasium.

Kittredge is the only public school in North Andover that does not have a gymnasium.

Packard noted that many Brooks teachers and other employees have children at Kittredge School.

The donation gives his school the opportunity “to be good neighbors,” Packard said. Superintendent Kevin Hutchinson called the donation “very generous.”

The annual Town Meeting approved $810,000 to build the gymnasium last May. When the initial bids exceeded that amount by 30 percent, the School Building Committee reduced the size of the project, settling for a concrete rather than a hardwood floor among other things.

When the town advertised the project for the second time, Seaver Construction submitted the lowest bid of $789,000. Principal Richard Cushing, teachers, parents and others in the community began the effort to raise enough money to provide the gymnasium with a hardwood floor, padding on the walls to reduce the risk of injuries and basketball hoops.

They organized a fundraiser at Stachey’s Pizza in October that brought in about $5,000 and have continued asking for donations.

The new gymnasium is now under construction. School Committee Chairman Stanley Limpert, who also leads the School Building Committee, has said the gymnasium will probably be completed by the time students return from spring break.