Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

March 7, 2013

New design for youth center unveiled

Private Andover Youth Foundation says it's raised $2M

By Dustin Luca
Staff Writer

---- — The Andover Youth Foundation has released designs showing its new plan for a youth center that it will bring to Town Meeting in Mary.

The youth center project is the subject of two articles coming to Annual Town Meeting. One aims to modify the 2011 Special Town Meeting vote, while the other seeks to bump the building’s footprint 35 feet to the north due to a wetlands buffer issue.

The Andover Youth Foundation is charged with raising the rest of the money needed to complete the project before the town provides the $2 million voters agreed in 2011 to spend on the building. To date, the foundation says it has raised $2 million — with $1.6 million in the bank, and $400,000 already being given to the town to pay for the project’s architect, according to the foundation. But construction costs have risen.

The Andover Youth Center Building Committee wants to build the project in two phases, according to committee Chairman Chris Huntress.

The first phase will build the center’s lounge, kitchen, cardio room, a set of bathrooms, an 8,570 square foot gymnasium and a variety of smaller rooms and offices for $3.45 million in construction costs, according to Huntress.

The second phase, which under the plan would be paid for by the foundation once construction on the first phase is complete, will include two 110 square foot offices, a second set of restrooms and a 2,940 square foot multi-purpose room that can serve as a theater and performance space, according to Huntress. That phase is expected to cost $1.35 million, according to supporters.

Previously, the gym was set to be included in the second phase of construction, the building foundation for which would be built during the first phase. That process was abandoned, however, as the need for a gym was obvious, according to Huntress.

“It became clear to us that they need a gym to function. To build a facility without a gym didn’t make a whole lot of sense,” he said. “We can use the gym as a theater. We can’t use it the other way around.”

During the construction of phase one, all space for phase two would be left open, meaning no foundation would be poured for the rest of the building until it is being built, according to Huntress.

Meanwhile, Andover Youth Services is holding its annual telethon on March 14 and 15, providing the private Andover Youth Foundation the opportunity to raise at least some of the additional money it needs. Construction on the revised phase one is slated to begin in August, pending the Town Meeting vote and the youth foundation raising the entire amount needed.

“We will have all the money for phase one by the time [August] they need us to have it,” foundation Chairwoman Diane Costagliola said. “We will be at that target, hopefully above that target, by the time [the August construction date] happens.”

The telethon will be held at the high school’s Collins Center for the Performing Arts. For more information or to participate, email or call 978-623-8241.