Why is the temperature within Andover High often uncomfortable in winter and summer? What are the major contributing factors?

The climate control systems in Andover High are well maintained and actively managed, even earning Energy Star rating for the efficiency of current systems. However, these current systems rely on old technology and major components—including boilers and unit ventilators —that are reaching the end of useful life and need replacement.

HVAC experts have observed that meaningful replacement of Andover High’s aging climate control technology would best be supported by also upgrading other critical energy components. For example, almost all high school windows are drafty and do not sufficiently block UV light, allowing heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.

But most notably, the current building is constructed of concrete with no insulation in the original exterior walls and with floors that create a “thermal bridge” by extending past the building façade, thereby drawing heat out of the building in the winter and increasing room temperatures in the warmer months. Replacing the extensive unit ventilator system without also addressing the building envelope of the original building would provide only very limited climate improvement.

Additionally, in each classroom, unit ventilators bring outside air into the building to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. When rooms are overcrowded, CO2 increases faster than heating elements can keep up with the airflow, resulting in cold outside air being blown into classrooms throughout the winter. The unit ventilators are also loud and distract from learning.

A facility project that simply replaces unit ventilators in-kind—rather than upgrading the heating technology and improving the building envelope—will bring a continuation of the same climate control problems, and may not even save money in the long run.

In addition to solving these problems, a modern climate system would bring an opportunity for replacing the unit ventilation system with a displacement air system similar to the system installed at Bancroft Elementary. This would increase comfort during shoulder seasons and allow year-round use of the building.

[3] Unit ventilators are the large boxes typically seen under windows along exterior walls to heat outside air as it enters classrooms during cold weather. The technology they use has been largely unchanged in over 60 years.



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1. What has the Andover High School Facility Study Committee been doing? Are there any significant findings from the Andover High School feasibility study?
2. What are the major deficiencies of the Andover High School facility? What current educational standards are not being met?
3. Why is the temperature within Andover High often uncomfortable in winter and summer? What are the major contributing factors?
4. What future enrollment projections is the School Committee using or planning to use to ensure the High School project meets projected future needs?
5. Didn’t Andover recently renovate the high school?
6. Can the state help with Andover’s school facility needs? Has Andover sought this assistance?
7. Why did the district decide to ask for MSBA help for Andover High in April 2018?
8. What are the primary options being considered for Andover High construction?
9. What are the factors to consider in the decision between an addition plus renovation versus new construction?
10. Is “do nothing” an option being considered for Andover High?
11. How can a renovated or new facility provide a better and more current instructional program for students?
12. Why will the MSBA decision in December be a critical milestone for the Andover High project?
13. When will improvements to Andover High begin? When will improvements be complete?
14. Which other Massachusetts communities have undertaken major projects to improve their high schools?
15. Why are multiple schools being considered for renovation or reconstruction at the same time?
16. Why did the district ask the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) for help with West Elementary, rather than Andover High, in April 2017?
17. What are the pros and cons of participating in the MSBA program and of building without MSBA partnership?
18. What paths are being taken to address both AHS and West Elementary?
19. When will improvements to West Elementary begin? When will improvements be complete?
20. How are Andover buildings being maintained?
21. Will Andover High continue to be maintained while we are going through this process?
22. How does the town pay for facility construction projects?
23. What is Andover’s track record for past school construction being on or under budget?
24. What is the potential impact of school construction projects on my taxes?
25. I have no children who attend Andover Public Schools. How will this project benefit me and the community?
26. Are any other high-priority school facilities being considered for improvement?
27. What public input has occurred to date? How can the public be engaged in this process?
28. Who will make the decision about which building project(s) to pursue?
29. How accurate are the cost estimates?