The following letter to the editor was submitted by Andover resident Joel Blumstein (photo, above). The views expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Andover News. You can learn more about our policy on opinion and commentary on our Mission and Policies page.
Several people have asked why Andover should spend $1.3 million to complete the schematic design for a new Andover High School if they already know how they feel about the issue. What additional information will be gained by proceeding with the design? The answer is “a lot.”
The remaining design work to be completed over the next six months is where important decisions on building design will be made and serious consideration given to value engineering – reducing costs while retaining educational and other values. We did this to great effect during the design of the soon-to-be completed West Elementary and Shawsheen Preschool, eliminating numerous features from the original design with significant savings. I expect the AHS Building Committee will do the same.
This time also will allow Town officials to pursue sources of funding, whether within existing budgets or from outside sources, which can mitigate the impact on taxpayers. Only when these things are done will the true cost to taxpayers of a new school be known. Only then can a truly informed decision be made at a future Town Meeting on whether to proceed with the project.
A decision of the magnitude of whether to build a new AHS – among the most important in the Town’s history – deserves to be made only after the most complete information possible is available. I believe most fair-minded Andover residents will agree and why I strongly encourage a Yes vote on Article 7A at Town Meeting on November 20th.
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