EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 11, 2013

Meeting will determine next step for Bancroft

Average tax bill would go up $24 if $5.7M is approved

(Continued)

Tom Garesché, of West Knoll Road, also appealed the project days later. Three more sets of Holt Road residents — Thomas and Jennifer Boshar; Todd Jackson and Caroline Ren; and Thomas and Lisa Williams — also filed appeals. At that point, Superior Court action was then promised by some of the abutters, on the grounds that the town didn’t follow its wetlands bylaw while issuing the Order of Conditions.

By the end of the year, both the Superior Court and Department of Environmental Protection supported the town in their respective cases; both decisions were later appealed. By April, 2012, the town settled with the abutters still involved in the case. The settlement introduced changes to the project including a reduction in playing fields and the addition of barriers to block light and sound from the site.

As the year went on, various parts of the project were put out to bid, where the subcontractor market competed for contracts on the project. But as the bids came in, School Building Committee Chairman Tom Deso said the numbers weren’t lining up with what was estimated beforehand.

“They were totally off from what the estimates were,” he said.

Most of the school construction has already been bid out and awarded, and work is well under way at the school site. The $5.7 million that remains would cover a number of things, including bulking up contingency reserves, providing money for the interior work like painting walls and installing fixtures, and building a playground, according to Deso.

Of the $5.7 million requested, around $4.6 million covers the cost of construction alone, Deso said.

The Finance Committee, usually asked to weigh in on any town issues requiring the use of money, unanimously supported the article.

In their published report on the meeting and analysis of the article, the committee said that the cost increases “were driven by factors outside the control of the School Building Committee and/or the Town.”

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