“I’m just astounded, I think it’s the best thing this community’s ever gotten,” said Halpin, who is from Wellborn and whose husband retired from the Anniston Army Depot. “I didn’t think they’d get anything like this.”
The Oxford City Council commemorated the official opening of the building Monday by holding its regular meeting there. The meeting itself was rather short, with the council voting to give $2,500 to the Oxford High School baseball team to help it pay for its trip to the high school baseball national championships in North Carolina. The council also appointed Sandra Williams and Linda Rinehart to the Oxford Library board and reappointed Randy Bashears and Johnnie East to the Oxford Emergency Medical Board.
The opening ceremony for the facility was held immediately following the meeting. Mayor Leon Smith told those in attendance that he hoped they enjoyed the new center.
“I think it’s going to be real good for the community,” Smith said. “I hope it serves you well for many, many years.”
Oxford began construction on the new center in November 2010, eight years after the city annexed the Bynum community. The facility has a gym, complete with bathrooms, basketball goals, electronic scoreboards and shuffleboard. It also has a welcome center, a concession stand and multiple rooms groups can rent for events. An exercise room with weight equipment is also available.
The largest of the meeting rooms will be used as a voting place for the primaries today.
Outside the facility is a concrete, 1,854- foot walking track. Next to the building is red, white and blue playground equipment.
Several activities have already been scheduled at the center, including classes for square dancing, guitar, baton and dance for children and aerobics classes for senior citizens.
Much of the center consists of new construction. However, part of it is an existing building the city refurbished to keep down costs. The refurbished building was constructed in the 1980s and was part of the old Bynum School. The city had to tear down other, 1950s era school buildings to make way for the new center.
Bill Weaver, who attended the old Bynum school and still lives in the area, said he was pleased with the new facility.
“It’s fantastic,” Weaver said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better. We’ve needed something like this for a long time.”
Bynum resident Dennis Egan was also impressed by the center.
“They’ve done an excellent job,” Egan said. “I’m going to come down here for the exercise room and bring my grandkids to the playground.”
To Council President Chris Spurlin, the new center could not have turned out much better.
“I hope the people of Bynum will be proud of this and you get good use out of it,” Spurlin said.