In 2012, the district’s Plant and Facilities Department worked with Pare Corporation to pinpoint needed site improvements districtwide. West Elementary was identified as a priority, with major concerns involving inadequate exterior lighting, ponding/poor drainage near the playground, inadequate parking, deteriorating driveways and walkways, and multiple instances of non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Much of this exterior maintenance was deferred, awaiting a decision about the viability of the overcrowded building.
In January 2016, the Town of Andover and Andover Public Schools (APS) contracted with MGT of America Consulting to evaluate the condition of every district building and then develop a master plan to address facility needs through 2026. MGT presented its report in June 2016. Next, the School Committee undertook further research and gathered input from interested stakeholders through surveys, tours, and forums. In December 2016, the School Committee identified West Elementary as its top building improvement priority based on the overcrowding of the building and the numerous facility deficiencies that have a negative impact on student outcomes, some of which are cited below.
The classrooms in the 1968 addition, which represents a large portion of classrooms at West Elementary School, were designed around the open-school concept prevalent in the 1960s and have been walled into separate rooms, thereby creating problems in heating and ventilation as well as for usable space for classroom and support programs. In addition, the two pod areas that were added in 1968 pulled away from the main infrastructure and have since been bolted to the main structure to ensure no further separation. The plumbing is antiquated and insufficient as demonstrated by having only one toilet for 110 boys in the pod for grades 2 and 3. Over sixty percent of the windows are not double-paned and are in need of replacement to maintain heat in the winter. Many of the building systems and site conditions are in poor order and would require significant investment to repair or replace. The classrooms are outdated in terms of providing a modern instructional program with varied space and room configurations. The main administrative office is poorly located for effective supervision and coordination. The sprawling structure of the building with its numerous exterior entryways compromises supervision, security and safety.