Andover Voters Approve Additional Funding for West Elementary and Shawsheen Preschool Project
Construction Project Remains On-Track for Completion in 2024
Andover, Mass. -- At the Town of Andover’s Special Town Meeting held on December 1, 2022, voters approved the additional funding for the West Elementary and Shawsheen Preschool construction project. To approve the supplemental appropriation, a two-thirds majority vote by town meeting voters was required.
“The Committee is grateful to the voters who supported this funding request in order for the project to continue and to stay on schedule,” says Joel Blumstein, chairman of the West Elementary and Shawsheen Preschool Building Committee. “The Committee has worked tirelessly, especially in these past few months, to provide transparent information and to reduce the impact of project cost increases on the community.”
Economic challenges present across the country and the world have affected the project, including supply chain issues, labor shortages, inflation, and the war in Ukraine. The project team worked to reduce the project’s budget deficit from an estimated $19 million in September to $16.4 million.
“The voters’ approval of Article 1 reaffirms the community’s vision for the new schools they supported at the 2021 Annual Town Meeting and the June 2021 subsequent ballot vote,” adds Town Manager Andrew Flanagan. “We worked to develop a plan that leveraged a series of funding sources in order to manage the impact to taxpayers. I want to acknowledge the hard work of town and school staff, the Building Committee, and our architects, construction manager and project manager for keeping the potential impacts to taxpayers front and center as developed our plan for addressing the budget shortfall.”
The average annual tax impact of the borrowing will be approximately $63 dollars.
Andover received the Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s (DOR) approval to forgo a special ballot box election on the additional funding for the project. The DOR agreed with the town that the project’s cost increases were caused by inflation and supply chain issues.
“The School Committee appreciates the voters who attended Special Town Meeting for their confidence in the project,” notes Susan McCready, chairwoman of the Andover School Committee. “We also thank the Select Board and the Finance Committee for their collaboration throughout this process. It is clear that the community understands the impact these new schools will have on educational opportunities for our students and families.”
The voters’ approval means the construction phase of the project, which began in spring 2022, will remain on schedule. The new West Elementary School is scheduled to open in August of 2024, with Shawsheen Preschool anticipated to open the following year.
“This week’s vote was a critical step forward for our families, students, and staff. This support reinforces Andover’s commitment to the project,” adds Dr. Magda Parvey, superintendent of Andover Public Schools. “I appreciate the dedication of the community on behalf of our students. It is encouraging to know students and staff across the district will benefit from the completion of these schools and the educational opportunities these new facilities will provide.”
To stay informed on the project, visit the West Elementary & Shawsheen Building Project’s webpage, or sign up for community newsletters.