Skye Stewart ‘17
Social Media/Features Editor
Merrimack College has recently bought two houses in the neighborhoods surrounding its campus, one on Rock Ridge Road and the other on Elm Street.
According to Jim Chiavelli, associate vice-president for communications at Merrimack College, one of the homes “was identified by neighbors during public meetings through 2014 as a longstanding eyesore, and we agreed it was not a good ‘entryway’ to our campus.”
Decisions to buy these homes were based off facts regarding appearance, safety, and “securing the grounds.”
Although these homes are close to campus, Merrimack currently has no plans to use the land these homes are on to build.
“We haven’t determined what we’re going to use the land for, though a student residence hall on these two sites is not plausible from a land-use or regulatory standpoint,” Chiavelli said. “More likely might be office space, but again: We are interested right now in making the properties look better and ensuring they are secure.”
The homes are older and have not been kept in the best of conditions. Right now, Merrimack is cleaning up these homes and working to secure their boundaries, which includes cleaning up objects such as old televisions and furniture left in the homes, fixing up the yards, filling the pool and fixing the roof at one home, and cutting down branches and messy shrubs or plants.
When visiting the two Andover homes, Chiavelli made it obvious that Merrimack is most certainly not searching, shopping, or continuing to look for homes they can buy. A representative informed Merrimack that these two Andover homes were on the market and asked if they would be interested in taking a look at them. Merrimack took them up on the offer and the houses were sold to the college.
Neighbors have been informed about the two homes in their neighborhood being under the college’s ownership.
As construction continues and Merrimack continues to add new residence halls on land located across the street from these homes, there were questions about what these two homes and the land they are on would be used for.
Currently, Merrimack has no plans to use the land these homes are on to grow the size of campus, but instead “looking at ways to better use what we have.”