Voters in Andover, Mass., have approved $16.4 million in additional funding that will enable the school district to continue construction of West Elementary and Shawsheen Pre-K School.
The Andover Townsman reports that residents attending a special town meeting voted 388 to 28 in favor of the supplemental funding. The additional allocation amounts to an increase of almost 11% to the original $151.7 million budget.
Officials say the additional budget authorization was needed to keep the project on schedule. Construction began in spring 2022. The new West Elementary School is scheduled to open in August 2024, and the Shawsheen Preschool section of the campus is expected to open the following year.
The district blames the budget shortfall on economic factors including supply chain problems, inflation, labor shortages and the war in Ukraine.
When the new campus is completed, it will support grades preK-5 with an enrollment of 130 preK students and 925 K-5 students. The 191,028-square-foot building will be to the west and behind the existing West Elementary. The site measures 33.99 acres and is made up of five contiguous lots, some of which are heavily wooded with numerous wetlands. The building is being designed as an all-electric building, and will be Net Zero Ready when it opens.
The initial cost overrun had been estimated to be $19 million, but the project teams were able to reduce the deficit to $16.4 million.
According to the building committee, the school construction project faced a budget deficit due to many factors, including supply chain issues, labor shortages, inflation, and the war in Ukraine.