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4 Questions with Oxford School District’s Heather Lenard: Oxford’s newest school building

On Monday, the Oxford Planning Commission passed proposed plans for Oxford’s School District to build a new school on Washington Avenue.

The school will replace the building currently standing, which was previously Central Elementary School. Oxford School District is planning to save parts of the historic school.

“Oxford School District is working with its contractors to salvage some of the original bricks to hopefully make available to residents and/or their family members who attended school there,” OSD Public Information Officer Heather Lenard said in an email. “It is an important part of our city’s history that we want to honor moving forward. There will be more information on this in weeks to come as the materials are sifted by contractors.”

The EAGLE asked Lenard about the new building, which will be built at 409 Washington Avenue.

1. Why does the Oxford School District want a new school building?

In 2017, Oxford residents voted to pass a bond referendum, which included the priority of a new elementary school while also making additions and renovations to current school campuses. The Oxford School District’s Capital Improvement Plan reflects the changes that will address the future growth of the school district.

2. How can first and second grade students benefit from having their own building?

Currently, we have 1st grade classrooms divided between Bramlett Elementary and Oxford Elementary. These classes need to be under one roof to maximize the resources designated for 1st grade students and teachers.

3. Why did OSD choose the area on Washington Avenue for it’s new building?

The new Oxford Elementary School will be built behind Oxford Intermediate School; the site of the structure that was formerly, Central High School and Oxford Junior High. In recent years, OSD has been using the old building for housing some of its administration offices such as Child Nutrition and Registration. It’s current condition, that contains asbestos, is not suitable for renovation. The demolition will take place in phases over the next few weeks.

4. When will it be completed?

The anticipated completion date of the new Oxford Elementary is July 2020