NORTH ANDOVER — Town Manager Melissa Murphy-Rodrigues told selectmen Monday night she hopes to award a bid for the new senior center on Sutton Street this winter.

She set Feb. 26 as the target date for opening bids from general contractors.

“It is very important to begin this process now,” she said.

The Planning Board approved the construction Sept. 17. The board at that time also approved a special permit for the erection of 136 apartments in three buildings that would be adjacent to the center.

Sutton Street Redevelopers, which is building the apartments, purchased the site of the former Knights of Columbus hall several months ago. The developer donated a lot of about 57,000 square feet to the town for a new senior center.

Then-Town Manager Andrew Maylor crafted that arrangement, according to Planning Director Jean Enright.

Voters accepted the donation at the annual Town Meeting in May 2018.

The present center is at the rear of Town Hall on Main Street. Because of the increasing number of older people in the town, local officials and the seniors themselves said they need a larger facility.

Murphy-Rodrigues said the town is looking to acquire additional land so the new center will have enough parking spaces.

“Since Town Meeting and due to recommendations from the architect, it was determined that the parking in the initial plan was inadequate.” she said.

Sutton Street Redevelopers purchased an adjacent lot on Surrey Drive for $600,000. If the town buys the lot, Town Meeting approval will be required, Murphy-Rodrigues noted.

That approval can come from next year’s annual Town Meeting, she said. It will not be necessary to convene a Special Town Meeting, she added.

The new senior center is expected to have 13,500 square feet in a two-story building.

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