School board plans new Oxford High

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Oxford School Board members approved a new capital improvement concept Monday evening highlighted by a goal to buy 80 to 100 acres this year to build a new high school to accommodate as many as 1,100 students in grades 9-12. If all goes as planned, the new campus will open in August 2013.
“We’ve got every campus overcrowded, and we’re at the point that we’ve got to make some capital improvements,” said Board President Buddy Chain.
Expanding, renovating
The plan also calls for changes at all current campuses. As proposed, the current crowded, 33-acre campus on Bramlett Boulevard will be renovated for use as a junior high school for up to 600 students in grades 7 and 8.
Oxford Middle School will see eight new classrooms and a new physical education building to accommodate up to 600 students in grades 5 and 6 on its upper campus. Two of its lower-campus buildings are slated for renovation – one to accommodate district administrative offices and the other for use as Oxford Learning Center, the district’s alternative school.
Della Davidson Elementary, the district’s newest current campus, will also have eight new classrooms and will convert to grades 3 and 4, with room for 600.
Up to 600 first- and second-graders will attend a renovated Oxford Elementary School, and Bramlett Elementary will house as many as 400 kindergarten and pre-K students after it, too, is renovated.
Oxford Learning Center will be converted for expansion of the Scott Center, which serves students with severe physical and mental challenges from Oxford and several nearby districts.
Academic renovations are projected to be completed by 2015.
Eventually, the future OHS campus will feature competition fields for baseball and softball along with band and soccer practice fields and a football stadium with track. Completion of those facilities could be as late as 2020.
Paying the freight
No budget is yet in place for the capital improvements.
“We all recognize we have space issues and old buildings,” said school board member Whitney Byars. “We have problems that we need to work through, but that doesn’t mean we’ll definitely have a bond issue and then start building a high school next year.”
Superintendent Kim Stasny echoed that the list can be changed by either addition or subtraction.
“This is not an exhaustive list due to the nature of the projects,” she said of the five-page outline. “The time line is all based on hopefully starting construction of a new high school in 2011, dependent on passage of a bond issue.”
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.