The oldest residence on campus, according to a press release released by the school, is scheduled to be demolished in March of this year. Andover put in a request for demolition of the building to the Andover Preservation Commission on January 10. Located directly next to Tucker House, Blanchard House used to be a small dormitory and residence to a faculty family.
Heavy snowfalls in the winter of 2014-2015 severely damaged the structure and the carrying beams of the house.
“The residents noticed cracks in some interior walls… We found a number of cracked and failing main support beams, so we relocated the family,” wrote Larry Muench, Director of Facilities at the Office of Physical Plant, in an email to The Phillipian,
The building has also been moved twice, once in 1858 and again in 1928. It’s original location on Salem Street was behind Paresky Commons and near Benner House. These moves are suspected to have caused additional damage to the house’s structure. Blanchard House was thoroughly examined by Andover town’s building inspector who declared the building unsafe.
The decision to demolish Blanchard House as opposed to repairing it comes from the high budget estimates. After the thorough inspection, the estimated costs for repair started at 1.5 million dollars and only increased from that point. Over the last 15 years Andover has already spent over 500,000 dollars in improving the house.
“I’m sad to lose such an historic building, but I’m in favor of demolition… I feel we could rebuild a new structure on the same location that is energy efficient, sustainable, and safe,” said Muench.
The official press release included that, “the school will make a formal request to demolish Blanchard House at a public hearing before the Andover Preservation Commission on February 14. If approved, the school aims to complete demolition this March.”
Blanchard House is one of the earliest surviving buildings in Andover and is listed in the Academy Hill Historic District as a historic place. In relation to Andover, the school purchased the house in 1812 for 3,000 dollars, after original resident John Blanchard started to take PA students as boarders in 1789, according to the press release.
Will Nuga ’17, West Quad South Cluster Co-president, said “I know that a lot of the kids that lived in Blanchard had great times there, especially because the experience of being a Blanchard kid was great. Since it has been down for more than a year, the dorm has been forgotten, which is really sad because when I was an underclassman, that was one of the dorms my friends and I wanted to stack in.”