An information guide to the November 20, 2023 Special Town Meeting
Town of Andover Newsletter
November 16, 2023 | No. 020
Special Town Meeting Information

Special Town Meeting to be held on Monday, November 20 at Andover High School Field House

A Special Town Meeting will be held on Monday, November 20th in the Richard J. Collins Field House, Andover High School, 80 Shawsheen Road at 7:00 PM. The Special Town Meeting was called by a citizen petition. All registered voted in the Town of Andover are eligible to attend and vote at Town Meeting.

This will be the first Town Meeting at which residents will vote by electronic voting device. Doing so will allow for faster votes, ensured accuracy, and anonymity. The voting devices will be distributed to voters at check-in. Voters are advised to arrive early to allow time to park, check-in, receive your electronic voting device, and find your seat before the meeting is called to order promptly at 7:00 PM. Voters check-in will begin at 6:00 PM.

Town Meeting will vote on seven articles, including whether to appropriate funds to pursue schematic design of a full replacement of Andover High School and/or schematic design of a renovation of the high school. Both schematic design options are two parts of the same article, which will allow for one discussion but separate votes on each item. The other six articles were placed on the warrant by private petitioners. 

Additional information and resources related to the November 20th Special Town Meeting, including the full warrant, is available at the link below. 

Special Town Meeting Finance Committee Report

The Finance Committee Report for Special Town Meeting has been published and is available to view online at the link below. The report contains a summary of each article and the recommendations of the Finance Committee, Select Board, School Committee, and Andover High School Building Committee. The Finance Committee Report has been mailed to all households in Andover. Additional physical copies are available in the Town Clerk's Office.

Electronic Voting Procedures

At Annual Town Meeting in May, Andover voted allow the use of in-person electronic voting at future Town Meetings. Electronic voting provides several benefits that are anticipated to enhance the efficiency of Town Meeting: it allows votes to be anonymous, ensures an accurate vote tabulation, and removes the need for time-consuming “standing” counts.

The Special Town Meeting on November 20 will mark the first time that electronic voting is used in Andover. Given the procedures associated with electronic voting, the check-in process will take more time than usual. Voters are strongly encouraged to arrive for voter check-in between 6:00-6:45 PM.

To learn more about how electronic voting works and what to expect, visit the procedure guide at the link below.

Special Town Meeting Information Sessions

The Town of Andover is hosting a series of in-person and virtual public information sessions prior to the November 20, 2023 Special Town Meeting. The information sessions focus on the Town-sponsored articles related to funding for the Andover High School Building Project (Articles 7A and 7B).

There are three remaining public information sessions scheduled:

Thursday, November 16 at 7:00 PM - Virtual Session (Zoom information at link below)
Friday, November 17 at 8:30 AM - In-person at the Robb Center
Friday, November 17 at 12:00 PM - In-person at the Robb Center

A recording of the virtual information session held on Wednesday, November 15 is available at the link below. The information session on Friday, November 17 at 8:30 AM will be recorded and available to watch on-demand for those unable to attend in-person.


7A & 7B Information

High School Design Funding Articles

Articles 7A and 7B consider the appropriation of funds to pursue schematic design of a full replacement of Andover High School and/or design of a renovation of the high school. Both design options are two parts of the same article, which will allow for one discussion but separate votes on each item.

Article 7A
seeks the appropriation of $1.3 million to fund the design of a proposed Andover High to be developed to the level of detail required for an accurate price estimation, which could be considered by voters at both a future town meeting and a future ballot box vote. Specifically, funding will allow completion of the “Schematic Design” phase which defines critical elements having an impact on project cost including building layout; floor plans; structural, mechanical, electrical and fire protection systems; materials selections; and a developed site plan.

This funding request is a culmination of more than a decade of study and discussions with the Andover community to address the condition of Andover High School and its effect on the education of our children. For the past 16 months, the AHS Building Committee has held over 30 public meetings; conducted 9 public forums; gained direct feedback of more than 100 educators; and met with numerous residents, students, student groups, community organizations and community members. The goal is to bring forth a fully formed proposal, reflecting a wide range of feedback, for a school that will serve the community for a minimum of 50 years.

Visit the Andover High School building project website, linked below for more information and resources related to the design process led by the Andover High School Building Committee over the past 16 months.

Article 7B seeks the appropriation of $500,000 to complete feasibility and design studies related to an interim approach for maintaining Andover High School. This approach would include improvements that are intended to bridge the gap between the existing building and a new building at some point in the future. This article would provide funds to explore designing detached modular classrooms to alleviate overcrowding, expanding the cafeteria, designing new mechanical systems to address building discomfort, improving building security, and making improvements to pavement and concrete around the building and grounds. This plan may also explore studying expanded field space on-and-off site because of the potential addition of modular classrooms. This approach would provide the best opportunity to preserve the town’s bond rating in the immediate term, while making the critical improvements to the facility. The design project would be managed by the Permanent Town Building Advisory Committee which would include representation from school administration, town administration, the Andover High School Building Committee and the School Committee. 


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