Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

January 3, 2013

Two Youth Center articles expected

Supporters hope to start construction while fundraising continues

By Dustin Luca
Staff Writer

---- — After receiving Town Meeting support last fall, the Cormier Youth Center is slated for more Town Meeting discussion — this time, two articles instead of one at a Special Town Meeting.

Two articles are slated to come before voters, with hopes of breaking ground midway through 2013, according to Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski.

Both are likely to appear on the Special Town Meeting warrant on Feb. 11 to have them decided sooner rather than later, Stapczynski said.

“What they want to do is the ideal situation, going out to bid on construction this summer,” Stapczynski said. “By putting it off three months to the (Annual Town Meeting in April), that puts off the whole bidding and construction time frame.”

The first article will redraw the placement of the building behind Doherty Middle School. To eliminate issues regarding wetlands near the project, the building must move 30 feet from where it is proposed, Stapczynski said.

The other article aims to modify the vote from Special Town Meeting in 2011, which approved an estimated 20,000 square foot building.

The Andover Youth Foundation, which agreed to raise $2.2 million prior to the town providing a $2 million contribution to the project, is $800,000 shy of its mark, with rising construction costs raising the project’s overall price tag.

To start construction in June without the full $800,000 raised, the project is being broken up into phases that start with at least 10,000 of the building’s space being built first. That space includes activity areas, lounge and lobby space, and more.

“They want to build more than that, but when the money’s available,” Stapczynski said.

The second phase of construction would add the building’s 9,500 square foot gymnasium.

If they face voters at Special Town Meeting, the two articles will join the evening’s main attraction — an article seeking to cover a budget shortfall facing the Bancroft Elementary School project. Due to rising construction costs, the project needs $5 million to get back on target, according to officials.

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For more on this story, email dluca@andovertownsman.com.