Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


June 20, 2013

Youth Center seeing final changes

Expanded gym, generator proposed

With just a few months left before the project breaks ground, changes are being proposed in just about every aspect of the Cormier Family Youth Center. And those changes come with a higher price tag for the $5.4 million project.

As town officials work to finalize changes to the agreement between the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee, proposals are moving forward to increase the size of the building’s gym, at a cost of $107,500 and install a generator so it can be used as an emergency heating and cooling center. That would cost around $32,500.

Both proposals came before a skeptical Board of Selectmen Monday night. The board is expected to take a final vote on the proposals and other changes to the youth center agreement this coming Monday.

Proposal one: Gym expansion

Andover Youth Services Director Bill Fahey proposed expanding the gym by 400 square feet to accommodate more programs. His recommendation calls for using money from an Andover Youth Services “gift” account containing more than $125,000 to pay for the additional work.

If approved, the expanded gym — at 8,900 square feet — would become the third largest owned by the town, with the high school’s field house measuring around 25,000 square feet and the neighboring Dunn Gymnasium totaling 13,100 square feet, Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski said.

The proposal would shift the northern edge of the building 4 feet, toward the senior center, according to Fahey. The added space would eat into an 11-foot-wide grassy area to the north of the building, but it wouldn’t have an impact on parking or any town buildings, Fahey said.

Town Project Manager Ihor Raniuk said the change would add $100,000 in construction costs and another $7,500 to redesign the building.

Selectman Paul Salafia supported the proposal, saying the town “can always finish the building later, but we can’t always open the building up again” to expand the gym.

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