Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

January 31, 2013

Study pitch would investigate overcrowding

High School, Shawsheen targeted in $225,000 study

(Continued)

Any given day, there is only one classroom available during one period, according to Lord. During the school’s other three periods, every classroom space is filled.

The school may look to add electives that will use physical education spaces to draw down the size of other academic classes, according to Lord.

“If there’s room in the gym, and the yoga room, those spaces are empty,” he said. “We can’t put chairs in there, but if kids were taking PE, that would be taking them out of the academic settings.”

The space crunch has also affected how the school serves lunch. As it stands, three waves of students move in and out of the school’s 450-student cafeteria during the school day’s third block.

But there’s one problem. Divide the 1,800 student population by three, and you have 600 students per wave going into a space designed for 450. Some students stand in line for so long that they barely have time to eat once they find a seat, Lord said.

Starting Tuesday, the beginning of the second semester, the school will be eliminating the 12-minute breaks between lunch periods in favor of adding a fourth lunch period, according to Lord. That will bring the average lunch period down to 450 students.

“We’re going to pilot it and make it work here, just to see if we can get kids a lunch in a reasonable time frame,” he said. “We’re hoping this solution gets kids fed.”

STUDY WOULD BEGIN SEARCH FOR ANSWER

The study looking at the high school would provide recommendations and conceptual designs that would convert the school campus’ presently open spaces into classrooms, according to McGrath.

The designs could show how the high school could add “additional classrooms to existing areas such as the main foyer, café courtyard, field house or behind the Collins Center [for the Performing Arts],” McGrath said.

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