Andover High School is seriously overcrowded. Based on current educational state standards, it is lacking in both number and size of classrooms. According to MGT’s report, the school’s current enrollment means its space ranks as “inadequate” with a utilization rate of 117 percent. The pressure for space at this facility is predicted to increase to 130 percent by 2025-26.
Specifically, an analysis by HMFH Architects (hired to perform a preliminary feasibility study in 2017) showed 80 percent of Andover High’s core classrooms are smaller than the recommended 850 to 950 square feet, 72 percent of science classrooms are smaller than the recommended 1,000 to 1,400 square feet, and special needs space is only 53 percent of the recommended area. Based on MSBA’s current standards for academic areas, the capacity of AHS is approximately 1,400 students. However, the school’s current enrollment already stands at 1,800 with an increase to over 1,900 projected over the next twenty years.
Shared spaces are also too small or insufficient in number. The limited size of the current cafeteria and serving area requires four lunch periods, each with 450 students moving through tight spaces, complicating and disrupting class schedules. The library is roughly half the size needed for the current enrollment. About 25 rooms designed for other uses—including teacher workrooms and teacher dining areas—have been converted into classroom space, and remaining teacher resource areas are crowded and poorly distributed. To accommodate student schedules, 75 percent of faculty members must shuttle among multiple classrooms each day with no appropriate space to prepare lessons, evaluate student work, store materials, or meet with students. Between-class time that could be devoted to conferring with students is instead spent carting materials to the next classroom. Teachers are scattered throughout the building instead of being grouped by department, which impedes professional collaboration. Small classrooms and inflexible furnishings limit instructional options and negate the opportunity for some educational services, including areas for hands-on experimentation and collaboration, for student projects that require extensive space to complete over a period of days or weeks, and for advanced-level classes that enroll small numbers of students. Students are turned away from some popular classes because the small, repurposed instructional areas cannot hold all the students who wish to enroll.
Other concerns: No fire sprinklers exist in 65 percent of the building, including the entire original building, the Dunn Gym and the Collins Center; the fire alarm is not audible in all areas; certain areas of the school are difficult to monitor for security; the site needs improvement for accessibility, traffic flow and avoidance of vehicular and pedestrian conflicts; mechanical systems—particularly those that support climate control—are ineffectual and beyond their usable life; windows are beginning to fail; the Collins Center floods periodically as a result of the high water table near the orchestra pit; water in the science labs is often unusable for experiments because of undesirable color and temperature; and there is an insufficient number of classroom/office electrical outlets, elevators (only one to serve the entire school), and accessible restroom facilities and other features that promote accessibility.
 Educational standards as used by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) for the construction of modern school facilities