The School Committee plans to vote this summer on whether to include a $6 million dollar “flexitorium” in the evolving schematic design for the new West Elementary School.

In recent years, the committee has been given approval from the Massachusetts School Building Authority to rebuild the West Elementary.

Paula Colby Clements, the chair of the West Elementary School Building Committee, said the project is likely to include the Shawsheen School, even though the MSBA doesn’t generally fund preschool construction.

The entire West Elementary rebuilding project is expected to cost approximately $154 million dollars.

The MSBA agreed to pay for about 40 percent of what it calls the buildings’ “eligible costs.” Eligible costs include the costs of the buildings, but not of furnishings or an auditorium.

School Committee Chair Joel Blumstein said a “flexitorium” is essentially an auditorium that could be used for other purposes.

“One of the unique aspects of the West El community is their auditorium that they have in that building,” Clements said at a School Committee meeting. “And under MSBA guidelines they will not pay for an auditorium in an elementary school.”

The issue of whether to include the flexitorium in the schematic design for the new school buildings will come before the School Committee by the end of this month. If the members want to include the flexitorium  the town will have to foot that $6 million dollar bill.

“We are expecting during next spring’s Town Meeting we will be at the point where we will be asking the citizens of Andover to vote on whether to move forward with the design and construction of a new West Elementary School,” said Blumstein. “That’s a decision a town will have to make, that’s a decision that will be made by the voters.”


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