Andover Ponders Making AHS Library Global Learning Center

Sen. Barbara A. L’Italien secures $200,000 in state money for the study.

Sen. Barbara A. L’Italien (D-Andover) has secured money for a design study to “transform Andover High School library into a 21st century learning center.”

Andover Public Schools received $200,000 from the state to determine the costs for converting the school’s library into a 21st century global learning center, according to statements Thursday from L’Italien and the school district. The district also received an additional $35,000 to upgrade Andover High’s Peter Aumais baseball facility. L’Italien was also scheduled to appear at Thursday’s Andover School Committee meeting to announce the funding, as part of this year’s state budget.

“The media center study will determine how much it would cost and what it would take to convert the Andover High School library into a modern media center,” L’Italien said in an e-newsletter.

L’Italien added that conducting the study does not require the town to build a new library. “The idea is to give the town an accurate and reliable picture of the scope and cost of the project so voters can then make an informed decision about whether this is something they want to do,” she said.

Governor Charlie Baker initially vetoed the funds last summer, according to the Andover school district. The veto was “quickly overridden” by the legislature, but the funding was held up for many months due to concerns about a possible deficit in the current state budget.

“Sen. Barbara L’Italien is a true champion for Andover. Her persistence in securing these funds is a giant step forward in transforming learning at the high school,” said Andover schools Superintendent Sheldon Berman. “We believe that a modern library is critical to the success of all students. The library will inspire, guide, and teach students to become independent learners and agile problem-solvers who will thrive in the 21st century.”

The additional $35,000 is earmarked for improvements to the Andover High baseball facility. The work will include renovating dugouts and electrical infrastructure, adding a press box and making handicapped accessibility upgrades.

“The baseball facility is used by a multitude of community groups, in addition to our schools,” said Andover Public Schools Athletic Director Don Doucette. “The funds will go a long way toward improving the old and outdated infrastructure, and will help instill a sense of spirit and pride in our community.”

Andover High has organized an internal design study group led by Andover Public Schools Director of Strategic Innovation Steve Chinosi and Principal Phil Conrad. The library design study group will be made up of high school faculty, administrators, students, parents, and community volunteers who will, for the next several months, “be responsible for recommending improvements to the library.”

“Based on a variety of surveys, interviews, site visits, committee meetings and research, the library design study group will recommend a variety of programmatic and structural changes to the AHS library,” a statement reads.