By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Ground preparation is well under way for the new Oxford High School, and officials overseeing construction say the project is on schedule for its January 2013 projected opening.
The work on the east of Sisk Avenue is actually creating a “two-fer” for the school district. As it’s removed from the new school’s site, it’s being trucked a few hundred yards to another district-owned property behind Della Davidson Elementary, helping level two properties at once in the hilly Oxford Commons development and saving hauling fees as well.
“It’s most impressive where they moved it in on the piece of land that’s so low,” school board President Buddy Chain said.
“What we’re going to do with that property is not yet decided, but it saved a tremendous amount in not having to move the dirt offsite,” said acting Superintendent Brian Harvey.
The $31 million project will replace the current high school on Bramlett Boulevard, which dates back nearly 50 years. When completed, it will feature five buildings for academics and administration, a performing arts complex and an indoor athletics facility.
The current high school will be renovated for use as a new junior high school, while other schools will successively be renovated and/or expanded.
Harvey expects bids to be let for actual construction on the new high school as early as September. The biggest potential negative in meeting the January 2013 opening is suitable weather.
“Hopefully we’ll have a good fall construction season,” he said. “After you get the concrete poured and cured, everything else seems to fall into place.”
One of the succession renovation projects has hit an unexpected challenge. For replacement of the Oxford Middle School gym, which will include some classrooms, the original estimate was just over $3 million, Harvey said, but a revised estimate added nearly three-quarters of a million dollars to that.
“Prices have gone up on construction a little bit, but I think $750,000 on a $3 million project is too much,” he said. “It turned out the architect had underestimated the number of bathroom fixtures that were necessary.”
The school board will discuss options on the middle school at a special meeting at noon on July 11 at the district office.