Palfrey Joins Trustees for Winter Meeting

The Board of Trustees convened this past weekend to discuss an extensive agenda at its winter meeting. Topics addressed included the Head of School transition, sustainability projects, campus renovations and the financial status of the school.

Incoming Head of School John G. Palfrey, Jr. attended part of the meeting on Saturday to discuss plans for his transition to Andover.

Palfrey met with Head of School Barbara Chase to prepare for a smooth and easy turnover. He agreed to visit Andover again during April to participate in the Spring Revisit Program for newly admitted students, according to an Andover press release.

To address campus sustainability initiatives, Claudia Shin ’12 presented her Climate Action Plan to the board; the plan modeled five possible greenhouse gas emission reduction options for the school. Shin proposed projects that included a solar panel array, a lighting retrofit, geothermal heat pumps and a biomass boiler.

Shin’s Climate Action Plan was part of an Independent Project that she researched with Patricia Russell, Sustainability Coordinator and presented to the Sustainable Steering Committee last fall.

Shin wrote in an e-mail to The Phillipian, “The trustees were very responsive and engaged in my presentation. They were extremely friendly and supportive. The main point was to get the trustees thinking, since the Head of School search is over and sustainability is one of the issues [the school] will be tackling in upcoming years with the new Head of School.”

“I think the trustees are really considering the projects I outlined for them, especially the ones I advocated as beneficial,” she added.

Russell also presented other recent endeavors to decrease Andover’s carbon footprint through the Sustainability Action Plan.

After the school reached a number of fundraising goals this past fiscal year, trustees discussed the future of a number of campus renovation projects, including updates to Bulfinch Hall, construction of the boathouse and remodeling of the Elson Art Center courtyard.

Following discussion during the meeting, the Board of Trustees finally confirmed the renovation plans for Bulfinch Hall. Both Chase and the Office of Academic Resources (OAR) have raised $6.3 million thus far of a $7 million goal.

During the leg of Chase’s international farewell tour in Asia, she raised $718,000 for the Bulfinch Renovation fund from the Andover community.

Sweet said, “Chase’s January trip abroad gave these proud alumni and parents an opportunity to present their checks in person.”

Now that the Board of Trustees has officially approved the renovation plans, the Office of Physical Plant (OPP) is ready to offer a contract to subcontractors.

Renovation will begin on June 4, the day after Commencement, according to Sweet.

The renovation is scheduled to be completed by December 2012, according to the building plans.

The Board also discussed construction project plans for the boathouse property in Methuen, MA.

According to the press release, construction will begin in February and is scheduled to be completed in September. Funding for the project is currently at $5.4 million and fundraising efforts will continue until the school reaches the $6.5 million goal.

In addition to the larger renovations, smaller construction plans, such as the beautification of the Elson Art Center courtyard, were discussed at the meeting. The construction will begin in the ensuing months, according to the press release.

The Elson courtyard project, which will incorporate the participation of Architecture and Environmental Studies students, seeks to improve storm water drainage to decrease toxic run-off into Rabbit Pond.

The trustees additionally evaluated the school budget for the 2013 fiscal year at the meeting.

The Board approved of tuition rates and financial aid budgets for the next school year to enable Andover to maintain its need-blind admissions system, according to the press release.

The Board of Trustees also announced that The Campaign for Andover, which began on July 1, 2005, will conclude on December 31, 2012, having raised $271 million towards a $300 million goal, according to Sweet.

However, budget plans will not be finalized until Spring Term, when the Board of Trustees will convene again to continue discussions about the Head of School transition.