Proponents of a new Andover Youth Center say they can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And for once, it’s not an oncoming train.
The Youth Center Building Committee got an update on the plans and went over the timeline for the project last week. As the Thursday morning meeting closed, members decided to take a walk and check out the ground that will soon support the long-awaited facility.
Committee Chairman Chris Huntress said that as soon as the contractor working on the Doherty Middle School wraps up a paving project next month, construction can begin on the 21,000-square-foot youth center.
The project is set to go out to bid Aug. 26. Bids will be accepted until Sept. 6, with the final decision on a contractor being made by Sept. 23.
Construction is scheduled to start Oct. 7. Twelve months later, Huntress said, the doors should open to the new facility.
The building was recently approved by the town’s Design Review Board. Financially, the $5.4 million project is on target, and is within the 13 percent contingency.
Huntress said that although a ground-breaking will be celebrated on Oct. 7, in at least two ways ground has already been broken. He said the contractor working on the Doherty Middle School brought utilities in from Bartlet Street to within about 10 feet of the youth center site.
In addition, the ground where the center is to be built will be prepped and ready for construction by October. “When we hire a contractor, they will have structural soil underneath,” he said.
The Youth Foundation paid $458,700 to the town to have that work done in an effort to give the eventual for the center a head start.
Committee member Bill Perkins said the project has been a partnership between the town, the School Department, the Center at Punchard/senior center and Andover Youth Services.