Education Topping Off

190,000sf Elementary School in Andover Tops Off

West Elementary School project team

Andover, MA – Officials from Andover Public Schools, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the Town of Andover recently joined students, educators, and representatives from PMA Consultants, SMMA, and Gilbane Building Company to celebrate the official topping off of the 190,000sf West Elementary School.

Designed by SMMA, with PMA Consultants serving as owner’s project manager, the new school will be designed to create inclusive, flexible, and adaptable learning environments for 925 elementary school students. The Town of Andover is also relocating its Shawsheen Preschool to this facility for 130 pre-K students. Located in a dedicated wing, separate from the elementary school, the preschool will have access to shared resources and amenity spaces.

The new West Elementary will feature modern, adaptable educational spaces including classrooms that can easily transition into larger group work areas to support accessibility and collaboration. Each space in the new school will center on community, with classrooms grouped by grade level in separate wings focused around neighborhood learning commons with abundant natural light. Larger educational spaces will be located off individual classrooms to allow grades to mingle and build community.

Vision wall

Multi-purpose spaces and other communal areas throughout the school are designed to offer diverse seating opportunities to encourage engagement. The cafeteria will share a moveable wall with the gymnasium to create a flexible connection to support project-based learning, exhibitions, and performances.

As part of Gilbane’s student inclusion program, a project “vision wall” has been installed on site, allowing children a safe vantage point to monitor the construction of their new school. The viewing area features project statistics, such as the amount of concrete and steel being used throughout construction, in relatable terms for elementary school learning.

West Elementary School is slated for completion by 2024.

“This satisfying moment and important construction milestone is a reminder of the exceptional work exhibited by the entire project team in getting us to this point in the project,” said Mike O’Brien, senior vice president and business unit leader for Gilbane in Massachusetts. “Topping off ceremonies are especially important, as they are a real celebration of our trade partners and I’d like to specifically commend the hard work that got us to this point by the men and women from Locals 429, 339, 4, 175, and 7.”