Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


October 4, 2012

Increased costs, lawsuit have altered school plan some


Among the items on the chopping block if more cuts are made is to save $250,000 by using brick rather than natural stone on the exterior of the building.

“We wanted to do [stone] because we thought it would be more in keeping with the surroundings, with the neighborhood,” said Deso.

“That’s the biggest single item,” said Gilbert. “I’d like to see it be stone. We gathered a lot of feedback from the community that they’d like to see that but, ultimately, that’s not going to offset the quality of education.”

About 60 percent of bids on different parts of the school-construction project have come in as of early this week, and Deso said the costs have run about 15 percent higher than estimated. The remaining 40 percent of bids will come in within the next two weeks.

Deso and Gilbert say the town will know how much it needs to cut or alter in the project then.

Andover does have about $2 million remaining in its contingency account. Because this is a new structure, it is expected that the town could use some of this money to avoid cuts or alterations.

“Once we get out of the ground with the building it’s pretty cut and dry. Most of your changes at that point are going to be minor coordination issues that don’t cost a lot, so then you can take more of a risk with how much money you’re going to keep set aside for contingencies,” said Deso.

While the town has altered the project by $1.45 million, Deso said none of the changes affect education or the quality of the building.

“There were a number of items we didn’t take because we thought they would compromise [the plan],” he said.

A planned wind turbine that was to be used to teach green technology has been removed from the project, but the piping and wiring will be included in case that feature can be added later.

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