Oxford School board picks firm for new high school

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – The Oxford School Board has chosen a Jackson architecture firm to design and oversee construction of the new Oxford High School.
Assistant Superintendent Brian Harvey said board members have authorized Superintendent Kim Stasny to begin negotiations with Eley Guild Hardy Architects.
Eley is familiar with Oxford already, having served as the architecture firm for the University of Mississippi’s Residential Colleges, Ford Center for the Performing Arts, the new Law Center and the Lyceum renovation, among others.
Its work is also prominent at Mississippi State University, where it designed the Forest Resources building and the Simulation/Design complex, along with Montgomery Hall’s renovation.
“We’re really the largest firm in the state now,” said Michael Jones, who will be Eley’s principal architect on the Oxford High School project, whose last public cost estimate was about $34 million. “Some of our strengths are that we have a lot of experience in educational facilities, and we are a green firm.”
Jones noted that the original construction schedule, which called for the new facility’s opening in January 2013, may be too tight now.
“We wanted that back in October, but with the delay in getting the architecture firm hired, that may have pushed it back too much,” he said. “We wanted input from a lot of people across the board to get their input about design elements. It’s hard to get anything started in December.”
Jones said he’s excited to be part of what he sees as a “crowning achievement” of the community.
“I think it’s going to be a great economic boost. In Tupelo, when they built their high school, people started gravitating to the community,” he said. “I think Oxford’s having that prestige of having a new high school will enhance the great reputation that it already has.”

Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.