- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—ANDOVER — The Cormier Youth Center, still being built behind the Doherty Middle School, is now on track for an early October grand-opening, according to the chairman of the building committee overseeing construction of the $5.7 million facility.

Chris Huntress gave an update to the Board of Selectmen last night that included an overview of the project, paid for using $2 million in town funds with rest — nearly $4 million — being raised and paid for by the Andover Youth Foundation.

The “base bid,” making up about 75 to 80 percent of the building, will be completed in the next couple of weeks, Huntress said.

That includes the gymnasium, the kitchen, offices, hallways, restrooms, a “wellness center” and all the utilities, such as heating and air-conditioning. The base bid also covers the exterior landscaping.

By the end of August or early September, a “multi-purpose room” with a stage and other accessories, should be finished by the contractor, Dagle Electric of Woburn. The multi-purpose room has been officially designated as the “Phillips Room” after the local, private boarding school for its $500,000 donation toward completion of the project.

That would leave about 3,000 square feet of unfinished space, Huntress said, which includes a workshop, a conference room and a TV/audio-visual studio.

He said the Youth Foundation needs to raise about $200,000 to finish off that portion of the building, and has already received a $50,000 donation for it. He said local companies have already expressed interest in helping finish off the remainder of the building. Dagle will not complete that portion of the project, he said.

Future uses

Bill Fahey, executive director of Andover Youth Services, which will be the primary tenant of the building, said it will take at least a year for his organization to determine the best uses of the facility.

“It’s a brand-new facility,” he said. “We have to figure out how to use it. It’s going to take a couple of years.”

He said at the very least, the Youth Foundation will partner with the Punchard Center to use the facility for both senior citizens and youth in the community.

The property will not be rented out, he said.

“That was not ever in the plan,” he said. “If people want to partner with us, they can approach us and we’ll see if we can schedule them in.”

Highlights of the Cormier Center

The building will have a 1,000-square-foot workshop where kids can work on art projects such as sculptures or wooden kayaks.

A multipurpose room will have a moveable stage with built-in lighting and sound system as well as good acoustics for performances.

A full kitchen will be available for hot meals and will also serve as a culinary center where kids can hone their cooking skills.

The gym will be 8,900 square feet, making it the second largest gym in Andover after the field house at Andover High School, and will be large enough so that it can be split in half with a curtain to allow for two activities to occur simultaneously.

A cardio-fitness room can double as a dance studio or place for Zumba and other fitness classes.

Classroom space will be available for tutoring as well as computer courses.

A TV-music studio will allow people of all ages to make music videos or produce TV shows. Bands will also be able to record their own CDs.

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(c)2015 The Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, Mass.)

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