West Elementary & Shawsheen Preschool Building Project

Entrance with Cars

Special Town Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 7 p.m. at the Collins Center at Andover High School. For a printable version of the Fact Sheet for Special Town Meeting, click here or view the articles on the Town Meeting Warrant here

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Fact Sheet for Special Town Meeting

Special Town Meeting will be held on Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 7 p.m. at the Collins Center at Andover High School
For a printable version of the Fact Sheet for Special Town Meeting, click here
Still have questions? Review our West Elementary and Shawsheen - Special Town Meeting FAQs at this link
What is the purpose of the Special Town Meeting? 
To vote on whether to authorize additional funds to allow completion of construction of the new West Elementary and Shawsheen Preschool. A two-thirds vote is required for passage.
What was the original authorization? 
In June of 2021, at Annual Town Meeting and at the ballot box, funds were authorized for the design and construction of the new school. The total project budget was set at $151,661,968, which included a maximum grant from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) of $38,442,820.
Why are additional funds necessary? 
Factors affecting the overall economy – supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, inflation, the war in Ukraine – have driven construction costs up by about 12.3% over budget. 
How much additional funds are being requested?
The total deficit is approximately $16.4 million. This will be funded by 1) the reauthorization of West Elementary feasibility funds (approx. $460K); 2) the use of free cash (approx. $1.4 million); and 3) exempt debt borrowing (approx. $14.5 million).
What will the tax impact be if the request is approved?
An exempt debt borrowing of $14.5 million would result in an annual tax increase of about $63 for the average value single-family home. 
What is the status of construction? 
Construction began in the spring of 2022. The foundation is being poured. Funds are available to continue construction through December of 2022 but not much beyond that unless additional funds are authorized.
Can the scope of construction be scaled back rather than seeking an additional appropriation? 
Actions already have been taken at numerous junctures of project development to reduce costs while minimizing the impact on education. Any further reductions would significantly impact education and/or the basic elements of the project (e.g., turf field greenhouse, gym and athletic equipment).
Are these cost increases unique to the West El/Shawsheen project? 
No. Similar increases are being seen on school construction projects throughout the state, including in Lowell, Worcester, Brookline, Concord, Westwood, Groton, and Somerset.
What happens if the appropriation request is not approved? 
The options are limited, but likely would include a pause to construction, a need to significantly pare the scope and educational capacity of the new school, delay in the opening of the new schools and continued use of two outdated, expensive-to-maintain and energy-inefficient schools, and increased construction costs when construction is resumed.

After many years of planning, we are happy to report that construction of the new West Elementary and Shawsheen Preschool began in the summer of 2022. 

Fencing now separates the construction site for the new schools from the current school. There are new playgrounds and play areas, a new parking area, and new site circulation patterns. As shown on the map to the right, families dropping off or picking up their students will continue to enter school grounds from Beacon St., but now will exit onto High Plain Rd. Bus drop-off and pick-up will be unchanged.

Construction of the new schools is expected to take about two years, after which the current school will be demolished and playing fields and parking areas installed in its place. West El students and staff will be welcomed into their new school in August of 2024 for the start of the school year. Shawsheen students and staff will be welcomed to their new school the following August.

For those who would like to learn more about the project, please see the information below. The FAQs and Presentations sections contain lots of useful information. If you still have questions, please contact Joel Blumstein, the Building Committee Chair, at joel.blumstein@andoverma.us.

West El Student Arrival and Dismissal Map for 2022-23

Andover-WESP_Site-Circulation anticipated 22-23 SY
WESB Project Timeline May 2022
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View All FAQs
By the Numbers  
Enrollment 1,055 students (includes Pre-K)
Building Size 191,028 SF
MSBA Max Reimbursement Rate 45.85%
Effective Reimbursement Rate 25.35%
Total Project Budget $151,661,968
Anticipated MSBA Grant $38,442,820
Anticipated District Share $113,219,148

Module 7

Module 7

Overall Steps in the Process

MSBA Modules

Module 7 Presentations

Module 6 Presentations

Module 5 Presentations

West Elementary School video - May 2021

Yes to West video Opens in new window

Archived  previous presentations (Module 1 - Module 4)

Meetings are live-streamed on Andover TV and may be watched on Comcast 99 and Verizon 43.

To view a previous West El & Shawsheen PreK School Building Committee meeting, click here for video archives. For previous agendas and minutes, click here. 

Committee Members

Joel Blumstein
Andrew Flanagan
Town Manager
Susan McCready
School Committee
Tracey Spruce
School Committee
Dr. Magda Parvey SuperintendentJanet Nicosia
Director of Facilities
Keith Taverna
Assistant Superintendent of Finance & Administration
Elizabeth Roos
Jennifer Hunt
Heather Eigen
Donna Walsh
Finance Director
Paul Rollins
Siggy Pfendler
Armata Kirpalani
Rick Almeida
Mark Johnson
Carol Green

Owner’s Project Manager: PMA Consultants
Architect: SMMA
Construction Manager: Gilbane Building Company
Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA)