By The Associated Press
OXFORD — Most visitors to the Oxford City Hall will never see the third floor — at least until it’s renovated.
Mayor Pat Patterson tells the Oxford Eagle that renovations will cost about $5 million to $6 million.
“But that’s just a guess,” he said.
Belinda Stewart, an architect from Eupora who specializes in the renovation of historic structures, has submitted a proposal for the city hall project. If the Board of Aldermen agrees, the next step would be to seek funding.
Patterson said Oxford has two other major capital projects that need to be funded — a parking garage for the downtown area and a new Oxford Activity Center.
“We’re going to have to prioritize them and go from there,” he said “But this renovation needs to be done.”
Built in 1885, it was the Federal Building and U.S. Post Office before it became the town’s city hall in 1974.
While the main floors and basement of the town hall need some work, Patterson said the main expense would be to renovate the top floor to make it usable again, while retaining the structure’s historic value
On the third floor, the walls are brick and the floors are wood with sections beginning to rot away. The large bathroom, with plumbing fixtures that appear to be from the 1950s, is covered with chips of paint and dust from the falling ceiling.
One of the rooms is empty save for bookcases that line each wall that appear to be where court or city records were stored or perhaps where mail was sorted.
In what may have been a courtroom, which now houses the air conditioning and heating ducts, a wood, hand-carved arch runs up along the walls and across the ceiling.
“That’s irreplaceable today,” Patterson said about the wood work.