Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

July 29, 2010

'New Bancroft' school taking shape

Through the process of designing a new elementary school for Bancroft Road, the project architect has met with staff, administration and parents from the school they're designing to replace.

Andover's School Building Committee is now considering the fruits of their labors. The committee discussed but did not vote on a floor plan by architect Symmes, Maini and McKee on Wednesday, July 28, and planned to continue discussion at their next meeting on Aug. 11.

Bancroft Elementary School, built in 1969 near Phillips Academy, has structural problems and the town is partnering with the Massachusetts School Building Authority to build its replacement. If its guidelines are met, the state will reimburse Andover a minimum of 40 percent of building costs.

In the new floor plan, hallways of classrooms jut out in an L shape on three floors, with high-ceilinged music and art rooms on the top floor. Classroom wings are wider at the mouth and gradually taper in along the hallway, like points of a star.

The gym and cafeteria are on the first floor, designed to be used as public meeting space while keeping the upper floors closed and unlit. The cafeteria is designed to hold one-third of the schools population at a time, or roughly 220 students.

The entire building will not be three stories; sections will be two stories and other sections will be single-story.

The floor plan was created to bring in as much natural light as possible, said Annie Gilbert, who sits on both the School and School Building committees.

"We really did not want a box. We wanted to maintain as much openness as we could, which was a core value of the old Bancroft school," said Gilbert before the meeting. "I think they've done a terrific job in the way they've oriented it. Symmes Maini and McKee has been very good about listening to what the teachers have been saying, and trying to incorporate that as best they can. They had great suggestions — they know how it all works on the ground."

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