By Errol Castens
OXFORD – Despite some anxious weeks and months in the construction process, it appears the Class of 2014 will get its chance to matriculate at the new Oxford High School for its final semester beginning in January.
Taylor Guild, a principal with Eley Guild Hardy Architects, said he will do a walk-through next week with officials from Yates Construction, the $30 million project’s general contractor. Guild said he expects the school to be near enough completion to begin some move-in at mid-month, even as punch-list items are being finished.
“The furniture is scheduled to start arriving Dec. 16,” he said. “We’ll have 18-wheelers starting that Monday, and every day more will arrive.”
The target date for completion was Nov. 30, but after the first bids came in over budget and the bid process was reopened, the contractor was left with several weeks less time than originally planned, Guild said.
“Yates has done an outstanding job,” he said. “They actually had crews working at night, 24 hours a day, to get it finished. They’ve done everything we could have asked of them.”
The new campus will relieve the overcrowding that forced administrators to institute multiple lunch shifts, one-way hallways and other measures to make the most of the cramped space. When the new school opens its gymnasium will still be under construction, while further athletic facilities and a performing arts center will be built at some point in the future when funding is available.
Oxford Superintendent Brian Harvey said the new campus has “a lot of work that has to be done yet” but that he expects classes to begin at the Sisk Avenue facility as scheduled on Jan. 7.
“I think so,” he said. “They’ve still got some concrete to be poured and some finishing to do, and they’ve got to go back and fix some things that weren’t done right the first time, but that happens with any construction.”
Guild said bids will be opened next week on the renovation of the present Oxford High School building on Bramlett Boulevard, which will become a junior high after the half-century-old building is reworked.