By Errol Castens/Daily Journal Oxford Bureau
OXFORD – Hills and hollows already have been leveled into acres of flat ground, but on Monday officials and townsfolk held a formal groundbreaking for the $30 million future Oxford High School.
“This project began a few years ago with our bond campaign,” said School Board President Marian Barksdale. “We wouldn’t be here today if that hadn’t been successful.”
“The hallmark of a great community is great schools,” Mayor Pat Patterson said. “We’re proud to support a new high school. It’s talked about, and I think it’ll be a great recruiting tool.”
Superintendent Brian Harvey credited his predecessor, Dr. Kim Stasny, who started the planning process before her death of cancer in 2011.
“It was her guidance and leadership that contributed to this site and what’s going to be a wonderful school,” he said.
Harvey said Oxford has a history of commitment to good schools, as in 1970, when integration was fully implemented.
“This community decided we would educate all of our students and do it to a high level,” he said, noting that with the $30 million bond approval in 2010, history repeated itself.
“This community made a decision again that it would educate all of its students – not only the ones who were here but those ones that were to come,” he said.
“We are seeing that already: We have a student population of 3,952 students. That’s up just under six percent from last year alone. We are growing, and this facility is certainly needed,” he said.
When the new high school opens, the present OHS will be renovated for junior high classes. Expansion and renovation eventually will reach every Oxford campus, providing more space at every grade level.