Board of Aldermen OK’s funding for multiple capital projects

Published 8:30 am Tuesday, August 9, 2022

The Oxford Board of Aldermen met on Monday morning to approve the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 budget. During the meeting, the board would authorize multiple capital projects that will improve different departments and buildings within the city.

Six of the capital projects were requested and were already included in the FY 2022-2023 budget and allocated a funding source.

These projects include the Oxford Park Commission’s request for renovations to Avent Park restrooms budgeted at $50,000; the Oxford Conference Center’s request for an upgrade to the Oak Room upgrade with A/V components budgeted at $32,500; OCC’s request for AV upgrades to the OCC Auditorium budgeted at $47,000; OCC’s request for an interior upgrade and redesign budgeted at $515,000; OCC’s request for new cameras in the North Parking Lot budgeted at $3,480 and multiple smaller projects in the Development Services Department all budgeted for $730,000.

The total budget of the six currently funded projects is $1,377,980.

The LED light upgrade to mTrade park’s baseball fields and the OPC Splash Pad were not approved at the meeting.

In addition to the already funded projects, the board came to a decision on the Oxford Enterprise Center, Oxford City Pool and the old OPC building. The three buildings were a topic of discussion amongst the board for months, but now the Mayor and Aldermen are moving ahead with their plans.

“We said the Oxford City Pool was our top priority and we had two [other projects] that tied for second: the Oxford Enterprise Center and the old OPC building renovation,” said Mayor Robyn Tannehill.

At the city’s last budget meeting, estimated renovations to the city pool would cost $3 million, the Oxford Enterprise Center renovations to cost $4 million, and the old OPC building $4.3 million with an additional $250,000 for renovations to the old OPD building, totaling approximately $12 million. 

Previously, all three projects could have been covered under a $12 million bond, however, project costs have risen since the city gained its last estimates.

Chief Operations Officer Bart Robinson said renovations to the OEC are now estimated at $8.5 million.

“We don’t have a new number on the OPC building,” said Robinson. “… And we’re still being told that the pool can be done for that [same] price.”

According to Robinson, the cost of the pool will be determined more by the use of the space around it, i.e. the inclusion and size of smaller pools, patio space, restrooms and concession area.

“All that is going to add up, but the sheer cost of just the pool will still have us at $1-1.5 million,” said Robinson.

Tannehill reminded the board that the bond would only cover at most two projects.

“We can do the pool and the enterprise center and we’d be at 11.5 [million],” she said. “Assuming the cost of these things hold.”

Robinson stated project costs will most likely level off instead of dropping in price.

Aldermen Mark Huelse proposed that the board move forward with the city pool and the Oxford Enterprise Center projects. The board recognized the motion and it was approved.