Slow but steady steps toward new activity center

Published 10:04 am Thursday, December 15, 2016

How will the Oxford Park Commission spend the extra million dollars it will receive from the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors toward the Oxford Activity Center expansion?

Make every penny count, says OPC Director Seth Gaines.

“We’re not going to take any money from the county and save it,” Gaines said Wednesday. “We’re going to spend it on the facility and get as much of that facility built as possible.”

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Earlier this year, the OPC board of directors were told city officials were committed to spending $7 million on a new activity center building and OPC worked with Pyror Morrow Architects to design a building for that amount of money.

Then earlier this month, OPC received an early Christmas present when Lafayette County officials pledged $1 million toward the project.

The new building will be constructed next to the existing center on the land where Price Street used to be until it was moved last month to connect with Molly Barr Road further north.

In September, representatives from Pryor Morrow presented three options for the new building.

The first option, Phase 1A, came under budget at $6.2 million and consisted of two large basketball courts with hardwood flooring that could be sectioned off to create four youth courts. A 12-foot wide walking track was drawn above the courts. That option was a “bare bones” design, addressing the most immediate need for space but had no extra classroom space.

The Phase 1B option has an extended front area with a fitness room and lounge area. That option is estimated to cost $7,750,000.

The third option, or Phase 2, would extend the front even more and include four multi-use areas. That option is estimated to cost $10.5 million.

Going with Phase 1B

In October, aldermen Robyn Tannehill, Jason Bailey and Ricky Addy and Mayor Pat Patterson reviewed the three options and agreed Phase 1B was preferable, even if it meant the city had to find another $750,000, which they did after Lafayette County agreed to chip in for the project.

Gaines said Pryor Morrow is now working on a more detailed design for the new building.

“The county’s contribution will fully fund Phase 1B and gives more money to put toward the future of the facility,” Gaines said.

Gaines told the commission members that he expects the project to go out to bid sometime this spring or early summer.