Summer Construction Update:Andover Shows Off Its New Look

**New Patio between Elson Art Center and Kemper Auditorium**

The brick pathway between Elson Art Center and Kemper Auditorium has been transformed into a courtyard over the summer, creating a welcoming space for students and faculty to socialize.

While the idea of expanding the pathway to a larger piazza was first discussed by the administration two years ago, the renovation of the courtyard became a priority when the pine needles from the old pine trees outlining the pathway became a safety hazard.

The Campus Design Review Committee decided upon a model looking to maximize the space. Curved, granite seat walls now outline the enlarged courtyard and younger trees have been planted to create a “green” atmosphere.

“The curved granite seat walls were designed such that they invited people to sit or stand around and use the space—the old courtyard didn’t have anything that was welcoming or inviting,” said Larry Muench, Director of Facilities.

“We also didn’t have the size. Now, the enlarged space can also hold all the people in Underwood. After a meeting there, they can come outside and use the patio to continue their conversations,” he continued.

Louis Elson ’80, P’12, P’15, P’17, Charter Trustee, funded approximately half of the budget, while the other half was taken from the annual budget preserved for facility renovations.

“[It was a] couple of years in the making and it only took the summer to complete the construction. It’s a beautiful jewel on campus,” said Muench.

**Rebecca M. Sykes Health and Wellness Center**

Construction of the Rebecca M. Sykes Health and Wellness Center, which will combine the health and counseling services currently provided by Isham Center and Graham House, began this past June and is projected to be completed by December of 2015.

“We wanted to do [a lot of the work] early on during the summer so that we could connect all these utilities to the building without interrupting anything on campus when school resumed,” Muench said.

The construction area on Salem Street between Bulfinch Hall and Benner House is currently fenced and will remain so until the construction is complete.

Counseling and current Graham House facilities will be located on the ground floor, while Isham health services will be on the second. Two large rooms will also be available to hold fitness classes and seminars. Training facilities and service will remain at Borden Gym.

The new wellness center is designed to represent a “beacon,” according to Muench. The top portion of the building, including the chimney, will be made of glass and will light up in the evening.

“The masonry and the brick walls will blend in with the older Benner House and Bulfinch, while the glass chimney and the green roofs on top will add modern touches to it,” said Muench.

The Wellness Center’s location is ideal because it is close to the center campus, allowing students to get the help they need in between classes, according to Muench.

“It was not efficient to have our medical [services] in one corner and counseling services in another, and the key was that the students were never really in those areas in the first place. The goal was to find a place that would fit both facilities under the same roof,” Muench continued.

**Campus Expansion**

In an effort to accommodate the growing number of faculty members, Andover purchased 3.7 acres of land adjacent to Siberia and the ice rink this past summer. The school hopes to renovate the houses currently on the property to create five new faculty residences, according to Muench.

“This is a piece of land that is directly contiguous to our playing fields, so it’s strategically a sensible parcel for us to own. And these parcels don’t come on the market all that often… and so when owner [James] Berberian approached us and asked if we were interested [because] we had an appropriate alignment with our needs, and it seemed like a great opportunity,” said Head of School John Palfrey.

Renovating the pre-existing houses on this newly purchased property to make them lead-free was a more economic option than building new houses from scratch for the school, according to Palfrey.

While there have been previous concerns regarding possible toxic sludge disposal in the property and health concerns accompanying it, the area is now safe to reside in.

“We have a full-time environmental health and safety manager on staff, who has been tracking lots of environmental issues, including the issues with the site. We certainly would not have bought it if we weren’t 100 percent confident it was a safe place,” said Palfrey.

Andover paid $4.2 million to purchase the land, and the construction is expected to begin in February of 2015, according to the “Andover Townsman.”