New Oxford High School Under Construction
Oxford is more than a town, much more. It's a way of life, a place built with words that holds the heart, mind and spirit of those who call it home whether for four years or a lifetime. Oxford is at the crossroads of Southern culture, class and cuisine. The storied buildings around the picture perfect town square seem to hold the key to Southern culture, equally embracing learning and leisure. In many ways Oxford is a dichotomy, simultaneously offering stimulation and serenity, creativity and calm. Oxford is a state of mind, a gateway to some and a lifelong home to others. It's a place where all four seasons take a firm hold, accentuated by football games, festivals and friendships.
Oxford is full of stories that resonate with a tenor that can only be found in a town that reverberates Southern charisma and charm. Enjoy the slices of life that follow as they are but snapshots of the town and university we so deeply love and admire.
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With the need to expand to prepare for large incoming classes in the near future, a new 220,000-square-foot facility is in construction to accommodate the growth in students.
“We are out of space at our current high school. The population is growing and we very much needed a new facility,” said Marian Barksdale, Oxford School Board president.
Barksdale said the current facility is over 50 years old and has no room to expand. With growth an inevitable reality, Barksdale and the Oxford School Board elected to begin construction of the new facility.
“We have around 1,200 students in the lower grades that haven’t even made it to high school yet,” said Brian Harvey, superintendent of Oxford School District. “But we expect to have them all in the year after we move in.”
Located east of Highway 7 off Sisk Avenue, the new high school will cover 75 acres of land. It is set to be completed by November of this year with classes starting in the new building in January of 2014, according to Harvey.
Harvey said that the importance of providing a quality education in well-equipped facilities cannot be understated.
“The school is a reflection of our community, and it also impacts the community,” Harvey said. “Our students now are going to be our leaders tomorrow.”
The current Oxford High School will become a school for the seventh and eighth grades.
As construction continues on the new high school, some have wondered whether or not the new facility will take away from the small-town charm.
Senior secondary English education major Shana Green said she believes it will not.
“When it comes to education, any and everything should be built to better serve our children — they are our future,” Green said. “If anything, the expansion and construction gives to the charm of Oxford.”
Gloria Smith, a math teacher at Lafayette High School and parent of currently enrolled students, has different sentiments regarding the construction of the new high school.
“As a teacher, I like it because it will provide more opportunities for the kids and help them compete nationwide,” Smith said.
However, Smith questioned how the growth of Oxford will affect its charm.
“I know growth has to occur for progress, but Oxford is somewhat becoming a metropolis,” Smith said. “I feel they’re putting more into the construction, the business aspect, and not the socialization.”
Harvey said he believes the new high school is a positive step for Oxford.
“It will be a state-of-the art facility, a technology-rich environment in which students have the ability to reach their maximum potential,” he said.