Oxford school board narrows expansion bid

OXFORD – They have yet to finish apportioning several scattered campuses among 14 grades, but Oxford School District trustees and administrators agree on one element in a planned expansion: There will be a new high school campus.
Board members narrowed the 10 plans outlined to two – each of which provides for a new building to replace the 46-year-old current Oxford High School on Bramlett Boulevard.
“I think we all agree that a new high school and adding to some of our buildings and improving them is probably the way we want to go,” said Board President Buddy Chain.
Bill Hamilton, director of curriculum and instruction, emphasized the high school’s status as the city’s flagship campus.
“By the time a new school is completed, you’ll have gotten 50 years out of this one,” he said.
Superintendent Kim Stasny recommended one particular option.
“We landed pretty much on configuration 9,” Stasny said. “This particular one is building a new high school for grades 9-12 … and having the 7th and 8th grades move to this (current high) school.”
Oxford High Principal Bill Hovious agreed that configuration is more plausible than one in which 9th-graders are kept as part of a junior-high campus.
“I worked in a 7-9 school, and the biggest problem we had was that the 9th-graders didn’t realize what they were doing in our building counted toward graduation at the high school,” Hovious said. “That was a major problem for us in that configuration.”
At its meeting Monday night, the School Board opted to go immediately into executive session to discuss property negotiations for the proposed new campus. Chain noted that the downturn in real estate makes such a proposal more feasible than it has been in almost a decade.
The need for more room grows more urgent with each passing year. Currently OHS houses some 940 students in four grades, but in just four years its classes will begin averaging more than 300 each.
“It’s 2013 when the masses arrive,” Hamilton joked.

Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal