The following letter to the editor was submitted by Andover residents Rosemary Hallorhan and Alan Harris. 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.
It’s not realistic to expect a $50 million investment will address the facility problems at Andover High School. The classrooms are too small and too few, there are no fire sprinklers in 65% of the building, water leaks through ceilings when it rains, and students are waitlisted for classes they want to take.
To stay under $50 million, you cannot fix even the basic facility problems because you cannot bring the building up to current code for ADA accessibility, fire safety and energy efficiency. Making this non-compliance a goal, either stated or implicit, is a liability. It is also the wrong thing to do.
At November 20th’s special town meeting, article 7B seeks $500,000 to find a $50 million solution to the problems at Andover High. That process will be unsuccessful, and is a distraction to progress on a true building project that would benefit our community, our property values, and our students.
Instead, we will be supporting Article 7A, which allocates $1.3 million of existing free cash, at no additional cost to taxpayers, to complete the design of a new Andover High. Yes, a new high school is bound to be expensive, but it is a more responsible investment than burning $50 million on a band-aid with very little educational value.
Don’t be fooled into thinking a $50 million “interim” plan does more than kick-the-can down the road, bringing a more expensive problem under more dire circumstances to future taxpayers, while failing a whole next generation of Andover students.
Rosemary Halloran and Alan Harris
Haggetts Pond Road
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