Here we grow again: Oxford school board makes plans for expansion
by Patrick McCreless
pmccreless@annistonstar.com
Sep 13, 2012 | 6093 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A 15-year-old Oxford High student died Monday, the Calhoun County coroner said, after she was found unresponsive in a bathroom at the school. (Anniston Star photo by Stephen Gross)
A 15-year-old Oxford High student died Monday, the Calhoun County coroner said, after she was found unresponsive in a bathroom at the school. (Anniston Star photo by Stephen Gross)
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OXFORD — The Oxford school system is again breaking out its checkbook, planning a $4.4 million expansion to its two-year-old high school.

The expansion is just one of 30 projects on the school system’s capital improvement plan wish list.

The Oxford Board of Education approved a $29.8 million, five-year capital improvement plan during a called meeting Wednesday. The plan includes multiple construction and renovation projects for several Oxford schools. However, funding has not yet been allocated for every project.

“It’s what we’d like to do — a wish list,” said Jeff Goodwin, superintendent of the Oxford school system. “But we are not locked into this … that’s what’s good about capital plans.”

Still, projects that do appear to be a lock for the 2013 fiscal year include a $4.4 million plan to build a career technology building at Oxford High School along with a $1.6 million plan to finish renovations at Coldwater Elementary.

Renovations have been ongoing at Coldwater since February and will continue through next year.

The career tech building will be added to the $19 million Oxford High School, which opened at the beginning of the 2010 school year. Construction of the career tech building will likely begin in November or December.

The school system entered into a funding agreement with the Oxford City Council in April for an $8 million bond issue to pay for the Coldwater renovations and the career tech building.

The career tech building project will likely include classrooms for pre-engineering, business, health care science and other careers. Renovations at Coldwater include not just improvements to the building, but also technology upgrades.

“It’s digging up pipes and water lines to new technology and new electrical systems,” Goodwin said. “We’ve renovated the inside of classrooms.”

And once Coldwater is fully renovated, all classrooms will have state-of-the-art technology, from smart boards and digital projectors to iPad carts and MacBooks.

Also in the plan for 2013 is $120,000 for replacement computers and new technologies throughout the city school system. A similar, $212,000 technology upgrade for city schools is set for 2014. Funding for those projects will come from the public school fund.

Eric Burrage, director of operations for the Oxford school system, said the expenditures are needed to ensure students have access to the best equipment possible. As it stands, students in the Oxford school system have many computers at their disposal.

“We have about 4,000 computers in the system now, including 1,900 Mac devices and 1,900 Dell devices,” Burrage said.

Further down the capital plan list is a $6 million proposal to construct a new athletics facility at Oxford High. However, a funding source has not yet been set for the project.

“But this is our dream right now, for a new athletics facility,” Burrage said.

Star staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star
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