By Errol Castens
OXFORD – Classes and exams ended last week at the half-century-old campus on Bramlett Boulevard, and suddenly it became the former Oxford High School.
A half-mile to the northeast, workers are finishing details on the new OHS campus – a sprawling $31 million project entailing distinct but connected buildings for each of several academic disciplines.
“Everything’s going well,” said Taylor Guild, the project’s lead architect, on Thursday. “They’re doing the punch-list – painting and installing hardware and other items like that.”
The school was supposed to have been finished Nov. 30, but School Board President Marian Barksdale said Guild and Yates officials identified 19 days of contract extension due to conditions beyond their control, and board members approved an additional extension of the contract’s deadline.
“They have certainly had the workers out there, working almost around the clock,” Barksdale said.
While school district employees are moving equipment and furniture to the new school over the Christmas break, teachers will be able to get into their new classrooms late next week to prepare for the Jan. 7 start of classes.
“The spaces are wider; the classrooms are brighter. It’ll have the newest equipment,” Barksdale said. “The classrooms won’t be crowded, and we won’t have to have one-way hallways anymore. It has more of an integrated campus feel. We’re excited about moving in. The students are excited.”
She added that the new facilities reflect well on Oxford.
“I think it shows how we value the young people of our community and our commitment to their future,” Barksdale said.
Guild said despite a down-to-the-wire construction effort, structures and electrical, communications and mechanical systems are in place.
“Everything’s turned and working; everything’s fine,” he said. “No doubts about getting in at all.”