Oxford’s Central Elementary School to change design in cost-cutting measure

Published 9:37 am Wednesday, March 13, 2019

In an attempt to cut costs and combat being over budget in specific projects, the Oxford School District requested a variance regarding the construction of their new elementary school. The request was heard by the Oxford Planning Commission during their monthly meeting on Monday and was approved, with a stipulation. 

The new school, which was officially named Central Elementary School last month, is currently designed to be an all-brick building, but variance from Section 5.6.19 Building Materials was requested to allow metal paneling to be utilized on all portions of the structure. The school district stated in their request that bids for brick came in over the estimated budget and using metal panels would result in savings.

The bids for brick were $900,000 over budget, and the new option of metal panels would save $350,000, which the school district’s architect said could be put towards building three classrooms. The original design of the school consisted of metal paneling but was changed to an all-brick design at the request of the Planning Commission due to code requirements. 

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“I’d rather put money in classrooms than brick, commission chairman Brian Hyneman said. 

The commission approved the construction of a new elementary school in December, which is located just west of Oxford Intermediate School, as part of the school district’s $38 million bond that was passed in September of 2017. The new elementary will cost $21 million of the bond. The rest of the money will go towards a fine arts building at the high school and renovations at the intermediate school, the middle school and Bramlett Elementary School. 

During the public hearing portion of the request, OSD superintendent Brian Harvey said the elementary school project is over budget, and they will be ‘really close’ on the budget for the fine arts building. Harvey also said the proposed Sisk Avenue project has been scrapped due to increased construction costs. The school district still owns the land and commissioner John R. Bradley introduced the idea of selling the property as a means to generate additional funds.

“It’s certainly a possibility,” Harvey said in response. 

A chart was supplied in the paperwork for the variance request to show how many square feet each side of the building would be brick and how much would be metal paneling. The east side of the building would have a majority brick, covering 4,933 square feet. Metal paneling would cover 3,703 square feet of the east side. The south side will be predominately metal paneling, covering 7,770 of the 10,515.6 square feet (73 percent).

The commission put in a stipulation to their approval that the use of the ‘Masterline 16′ panel must be used instead of a ‘ShadowRib’ panel. The architect group involved in the project originally selected ‘ShadowRib’ for paneling but has since changed to the ‘Masterline 16’ as their option, as requested by the board.