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When Will Construction Start on the Bancroft Elementary School?

This week's You Ask...Patch Answers tackles the Bancroft School project.

When will construction begin on the Bancroft School?

The Andover School Committee and School Building Committee hope contractors will begin construction on the new Bancroft Elementary School by June.

Approved at Special Town Meeting 2010, the $44 million Bancroft School project was scheduled to be under construction by now. However, the project was delayed due to abutters' lawsuits objecting to the project's permanent access road that they claimed was encroaching on protected wetland boundaries. While the Superior Court and Department of Environmental Protection quickly ruled in favor of the town, further appeals have been filed and are expected to delay the project more.

However, School Committee chairman Annie Gilbert said that if they build the school in different phases, they can start earlier despite the pending lawsuits and related appeals. Project architects say they can build a temporary access road from West Knoll Road or Bancroft Road that would take the place of the road currently being scrutinized. Committee members are confident that they will come out victoriously in the courts and will be able to build the road at a later point during construction.

Changing the project's phases still needs to be studied and will have an associated cost. But Gilbert said that the project has built in contingency funds that will hopefully cover the costs associated with changing the phases of the project. Gilbert said that if the town waited until the lawsuits were concluded, project costs would be much higher due to the rapidly changing economic climate in construction.

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