With a current enrollment of nearly 600, West Elementary is essentially at capacity. Since West’s building was last expanded in 1968, the following streets and areas have been developed: Andover Country Club Lane, Trevino Circle, Cormier’s Way, Crenshaw Lane, Muirfield Circle, Ivana Drive, Swan Lane, Trumpeters Lane, Dove Lane, Bobby Jones Drive, Westminster Road Way, Endicott Road, Wescott Road, Worthen Place, Haskell Road, Shadow Lane, Scotland Drive, Stafford Lane, Warwick Circle, Stirling Street (upper), Whittemore Terrance, Southridge Circle, Irongate Drive, Sutton Way, Pauline Drive, Noel Road, Powder Mill Square, Michael Way, Bryan Lane, Heritage Lane, Delisio Drive, Ruggerio Way, Meadow View Lane, Newman Hill Road, and perhaps others. Numerous new projects are under construction or in the planning phase in Andover, which will put additional pressures on providing adequate instructional space for new students.
Requirements for learning environments—particularly around special education, English Language Learning (ELL), and remedial education service delivery—have changed in the decades since the facility was constructed or enlarged, requiring significant additional instructional space.
West Elementary is the district’s largest elementary school by enrollment; its utilization rate now stands at 100% (which means every space is in use) and is projected to reach 116% by 2026.
Small-group instruction, ELL programming, and special education services take place in repurposed closets, the cafeteria, stage, hallways and learning spaces that are disconnected from students’ primary learning setting. Some of the repurposed closets have no windows and no means of receiving heat or ventilation.
The MGT Master Facilities Study scored West Elementary “poor” for educational suitability (69 out of 100), citing specific concerns that the current classrooms fail to meet MSBA size guidelines, do not adequately support educational programming, do not provide flexible use of space, and lack sufficient storage.
The current pressure on capacity at West is being felt most keenly at the kindergarten level, as more students (currently 92%) enroll in full-day kindergarten rather than half-day. In 2013-14, West served 42 children in full-day kindergarten, compared with 77 in 2019-20.
In 2019-20, West Elementary School students were served by 120 faculty members, administrators, and support staff. Office spaces and conference rooms are almost non-existent, having been turned into instructional areas. Parking space is insufficient to accommodate staff, visitors, and delivery vehicles.
The overcrowding is detrimental to the educational program. Classrooms are too crowded to support student collaboration, hands-on authentic learning, and the creative instructional approaches that teachers yearn to implement. The school has only one small maker space, though MSBA recommends two. From the arts to the sciences and from technology to physical education, the school lacks available and appropriate spaces to offer the depth and breadth of curriculum and support services that the students deserve—a condition that over time has a negative impact on both student achievement and teacher morale.