EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 11, 2012

$800k still needed for Youth Center

Jumping construction costs blamed for funding gap

By Dustin Luca

---- — ANDOVER — A year after Special Town Meeting chipped in $2 million for a new youth center, Andover Youth Foundation is working to raise $800,000 needed to start construction.

With Special Town Meeting’s $2 million contribution, a remaining $2.2 million was to be provided by the foundation. Over $1.5 million was in the bank from prior donations, and the foundation has raised another $100,000 this year, according to Diane Costagliola, Andover Youth Foundation chairperson.

The cost of the building has gone up over the last year, however, because construction costs have jumped across the board, according to Costagliola.

“It’s kind of a moving number. It’s moving because, until we really bring it out to bed, we’re not going to know how much (is needed),” Costagliola said. “We do have some good potential prospects that we’re working on. We’re hoping that the culmination or close to the culmination of our fundraising efforts will be the telethon on the 14th, 15th, 16th of March.”

The Andover Youth Center Building Committee is currently working through “value engineering,” through which the board will “figure out how to get the most cost-effective building within our budget,” building committee Chairwoman Nancy Jeton said.

In the event that the $800,000 gap can’t be closed before the town breaks ground on the project in June, the building could be built in phases, according to Jeton.

“If you think of the building in three parts, the northern part of the building is the classroom spaces and lounge spaces, the middle part of the building is the lobby, multipurpose and fitness area, and the southern component is the gym,” she said.

The popular plan right now is to “build the first two, put a temporary wall on the south side, lay the foundation for the gym, and have an outdoor basketball space until the money is raised to complete the gym,” Jeton said.

The building committee has tapped Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype, Inc, a firm based out of Boston, to design the building.

“It’s a firm that has designed a lot of youth centers around New England,” Jeton said. “They’re really good at what they do.”

In the meantime, there’s a lot of ground to cover funding-wise.

The $800,000 gap isn’t insurmountable, but “we’ve got work to do on the fundraising,” according to Jeton.

“We’re confident that, just as people came out in great numbers at Town Meeting to support the concept, that people will be willing to dig in and raise the necessary funds,” Jeton said.

“We can use all the help we can get.”

For more Andover news and story updates, follow @DustinLucaET on Twitter.