School board talks construction projects

The new year is getting closer and closer, and the Oxford Schools administrators are looking at ways the school buildings can be improved in 2019. At the board of education’s Dec. 11 meeting, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations Sam Barna presented a few of those projects to the board.

The school district hired Clark Construction to conduct a bidding process for the individual updates with the aim of getting the best price. Bids were done for a partial new roof at Oxford High School, air conditioning units in all of the elementary schools as well as new carpets, lighting and ceilings in some of the buildings.

While a Clark Construction representative was presenting the lowest bid numbers to the board, board Vice President Joyce Brasington and Secretary Mark Stepek raised concerns about the quality of the more affordable services, as the winning bidders presented the lowest costs.

The Clark representative assured the board members that Clark does a thorough screening process of the companies that includes interviews and that Oxford Schools had worked with the vast majority of the winning bidders in past years.

Aside from the minor updates, the board voted unanimously to spend $65,000 on a new scoreboard for OHS’s pool. $35,000 was donated for the scoreboard by Oxford Bank, which will cover over half the cost. Because of the large donation, the scoreboard will bear the bank’s name for at least 10 years.

“It’s a brand new scoreboard, scoring system, touch pads that go in the water, a computer to control it (and) to control messaging up on the screen (and) the screen itself… Scoreboards are not cheap, they’re just crazy expensive. Oxford Bank stepped up once again and we are, in essence, giving them naming rights for 10 years to have their name up by that scoreboard,” Superintendent Tim Throne said.

Throne noted the computer to operate the scoreboard will be a welcome addition, as the swim coach, Jackie Rank, currently has to use her own laptop to operate the pool’s scoreboard.

Aside from the cost of the board and its accessories, there will be additional costs for installation. The district expects the scoreboard and it’s installation to add up to around $70,000 total cost.

Even with the hefty price tag, many of the board members voiced approval of the addition. Trustee Korey Bailey, who said he is familiar with scoreboards, thinks the system is quality and will be a “great addition.” The board also voiced repeated thanks to Oxford Bank for its donation.

“The district is appreciative of any funds that are raised, whether by the parents or community members, to better our district,” Trustee Dan D’Alessandro said.