Andover High's senior class will graduate Monday at Lowell's Tsongas Arena.

The graduation was first scheduled at the Tsongas, but some work on the arena prompted school officials to look at Merrimack College as a "Plan B." But last week letters went out to parents saying the event will definitely be in Lowell.

"We thought we'd have to hold graduation at Merrimack College since Tsongas was going through major renovations," said Superintendent Claudia Bach. "But it looks like it will be ready (in time for) graduation."

With the number of seniors in this year's class exceeding 400 students, having the ceremony in the Field House has been a virtual impossibility in recent years | making it necessary to hold the festivities in the much larger Tsongas Arena. With fears it wouldn't be ready, Merrimack College offered to help out.

Principal Peter Anderson said he was grateful for the college's offer, though he felt fortunate that he didn't have to take them up on it.

"Mostly, we felt that Merrimack College had gone out of their way | their school year is done and we didn't want to put them out if we didn't have to," Anderson said.

It's a win-win situation, he says, since the Tsongas Arena has already become familiar to students, parents and faculty.

But, as he noted, what really seems to matter most to the students is the fact that graduation is here.

"Whether it's here, or in Lowell, or at the FleetCenter for that matter ... I don't think the kids really care," Anderson said.

If you go

r What: Andover High Class of 2007 graduation

r Where: Tsongas Arena, Lowell

r When: Monday at 5 p.m.

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