EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 17, 2013

Plans shift for Andover High, other projects

ANDOVER — Plans for an expansion of Andover High School and replacements of the Town Yard and Ballardvale Fire Station have triggered a shifting of priorities in the town manager’s annual Capital Improvement Plan.

Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski will present this year’s iteration of the CIP, covering fiscal years 2015 to 2019, to the Board of Selectmen Monday night.

This year’s plan reflects just over $9 million in spending requests that will move on as the town develops next year’s operating budget, according to Stapczynski.

Among the requests are two projects that don’t have price tags attached yet. They will require “debt exclusion” votes to pay for them, which will raise taxes beyond Proposition 2 1/2 tax levy limits if approved, according to Stapczynski.

One of the two projects, an expansion of Andover High School, is the subject of an ongoing study that will likely lead to design and engineering work next year, Stapczynski said.

The project seeks to add classroom space, expand the school’s cafeteria and make “other substantial improvements” to the school facility in light of significant overcrowding at the school.

“We have to get the study under our belt. We have to read the study, and we have to hire architects and engineers to design the job,” Stapczynski said. “That typically takes nine months to a year.”

The project itself is expected to follow, with construction to start in fiscal year 2016, which includes the second half of 2015, according to Stapczynski.

Because of the work at the high school, one of the CIP’s larger projects over the next five years — school site improvement — has also shifted.

With $2.7 million of work going into Doherty Middle School’s site layout this past summer, previous plans to do Andover High next have been moved out several years, according to the plan.

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