Has the time come to seriously consider a second high school for Andover? The current high school building could continue to be used and a new high school building could be built at another location.

This approach has at least 10 critical advantages:

  1. A second high school would relieve overcrowding, which is the main problem to be solved . Each high school would accommodate roughly half of our high school population.
  2. A new, smaller high school building should cost considerably less than the $480 million estimated for the large high school building currently planned. The only immediate renovations to the current high school would be to correct building code violations, adding only an incremental cost.
  3. 3. Two smaller high schools should provide a better educational experience for our students. More students will have opportunities to meaningfully participate in educational and extracurricular activities.
  4. Smaller high schools should be easier to manage. There would be a better working environment for principals, teachers and staff.
  5. By significantly reducing the cost of a new high school, Andover will be better positioned financially to address future school building needs. Other aging schools, such as Sanborn and Doherty, will need to be replaced in the not-too-distant future.
  6. Two high schools should be better able to absorb future population growth than one. The population of Andover is destined to grow – maybe dramatically. A state mandate already requires Andover to rezone to allow over 2,000 new housing units. Town planners are also advocating even more population growth.
  7. Traffic and parking problems at the current high school will be greatly reduced.
  8. Building a new high school at a different location would avoid years of disruption for students at the current high school.
  9. A smaller high school building should be completed and ready for use faster than the currently proposed plan.
  10. Finally, the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the state agency that helps fund new school buildings, has repeatedly rejected Andover’s request for money to fund the current plan. It is possible that they would help fund a smaller, less costly school.

In recent years, Andover has added a fifth elementary school and a third middle school. It’s now time to add a second high school.

Andrew Rouse
Cattle Crossing

Share Your Thoughts!
3 thoughts on “Opinion: Build A Second High School”
  1. Andrew Rouse comment does not take into account several critical items when listing the “advantages” to a second high school. First and foremost, he makes no reference to where a second HS would be built. I don’t know what the required acreage for HS is but it’s significant. If such a parcel of land even exist in Andover what would it cost to acquire?
    The additional HS would have whole new set of HS sport teams. There are dozens of HS sports teams. another thing he did not mention. Additional teams, coaches, assistant coaches, uniforms, you get the picture. New fields, additional upkeep. Another principal, assistant principal, department heads, guidance counselors. Buses.
    Maybe the idea of a second HS is worth exploring. But it’s much more complicated that Andrew Rouse make it sound.

    1. When the Andover High School Building Committee was formed last year they were given the task of looking into “either renovating and building an addition onto the existing high school or building a new high school”. Adding another high school was not in their charter. I believe it should have been. Then all the pros and cons of this option could be properly explored. By the way, at Town Meeting two years ago we authorized the purchase of 138 and 140 Chandler Road, which is over 44 acres of undeveloped land. So Andover already owns enough land on which to build a new school, if that were the best option.

  2. I appreciate Andy R’s proposal. pdm4 also brings up some cautionary criteria and concerns. Having attended a few SC and Building Committee meetings, health: (a)HVAC (b) curriculum: STEAM, and (c) Social-Emotional-Cognitive development of our 9th graders, seem to be ongoing frames of reference for 21st Century learning. Perhaps a new building for a 9th Grade Academy could be a ‘new’ structure that would alleviate some of the crowding. SC and HSBC have talked about a 9th Grade Academy. Part of the Building could also be STEAM related: exploratory and practice ‘labs’ where students could experience the current and future technical demands of various professions. SC and HSBC also documented such STEAM needs reported by teachers, students, and administrators. Furthermore, the Town Manager’s Office has referenced that HVAC and similar ‘safety’ needs at the current HS could be ameliorated at a cost of approx. $45 million. Towns and cities across our region have provided new learning environments for their kids at much less a cost than the current Building Committee is proposing.

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