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New activity center to remain on Oxford Park Commission campus

Despite costing $2 million more than originally budgeted, the Oxford Park Commission will construct the new activity center building next to existing one.

OPC commissioners recently learned the ground under where they want to build the new facility has several feet of trash under it, as the site was once the former city’s landfill. It will cost about $2 million to remove the recommended 12 feet of trash from under the facility and 5 feet of trash from under the new parking lot.

The commission discussed moving the new building to another location; however, they eventually agreed they wanted to keep it on the current OPC campus.

On Tuesday, the Oxford Board of Aldermen supported their decision and voted to allow them to move forward with designing the facility that will provide more basketball courts, a walking track, fitness room and classroom space.

The aldermen will look for the additional funds during the upcoming budget session.

OPC now has $8.5 million available for the project — $7.5 million from the city and $1 million from the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors.

City Engineer Bart Robinson said borings showed that the trash would only be located under about half of the proposed activity center’s foundation; however, removing the trash and dirt from just one side could cause instability in the building.

The city is not legally required to follow the advice of the geotechnical engineer; however, it could lead to liability issues down the road.

The plans for the center were approved last month by OPC and the aldermen.

Designed by Pryor & Morrow, the new center will include a 1,585-square foot fitness room, office space as well as storage space for those using the gym. A lounge that would include pool tables and other games to create a social atmosphere is also part of the base proposal. A walking track will be constructed on the second floor, above the proposed courts that can host basketball, volleyball and pickleball games on it. The walking track could also be used as a viewing gallery when games are in session.