• 59°

Oxford High’s pressbox salvaged, repairs being made to sinkhole damage

There was good news delivered to the Oxford School District on Monday.

The pressbox at Bobby Holcomb Field will not have to be demolished after a sinkhole was formed last month. Instead, work has already begun to repair the damage caused by a spring wash which created the sinkhole to form under the pressbox and bleachers.

The OSD school board held their regular monthly meeting on Monday and passed a resolution that would allow emergency repairs to take place.

“It basically created a big crevice (under the pressbox),” Tim Prewitt of Eley Guild Hardy Architects said during the board meeting. “There are a couple footings exposed. Luckily after looking at it after we got some of the concrete torn out it doesn’t appear to be as bad as we expected it to be. It looks really bad but it’s not as bad as we thought.”

Prewitt is working alongside Cary McGonagill of Southern General Construction to get the repairs completed.

The resolution had to be passed by the school board due to the cost of the repairs exceeding $50,000. It is the same approach that was taken back in the Fall to repair the Oxford High gym floor.

The biggest concern was the pressbox which had shifted due to the sinkhole. It can be salvaged and re-centered.

“I’m up there everyday and construction is going nicely,” Oxford athletic director Mike Martin said. “They can level (out) the pressbox. …My bottom line is it being ready by (August 1). If all goes to plan we’ll have access to it by then.”

There are backup plans in place if the timeline does not go according to that plan. Oxford’s first home football game of the 2018 season is on August 24 against Starkville. The Chargers are scheduled to host their preseason jamboree on August 10.

Prewitt is waiting on some of the lower level bleachers to be removed so his crew can clean it out and put in a new French drainage system that will take care of the spring. There are around seven springs that are running under the pressbox and bleachers with three of them being a major concern.

“The dilemma at this point is trying to figure out the best value way to fix this problem and it not reoccur,” Prewitt said. “It’s an extremely hard thing to figure out how to fix stuff that’s under a really tight place and then get it all back into the right place.”