The money will be used to fund renovations at Coldwater Elementary School and, possibly, to construct career center classrooms at Oxford High School.
During its regular meeting Tuesday, the Oxford City Council entered into a funding agreement with the Oxford Board of Education and financed a new $8 million bond issue. Through the agreement, the school board will be able to borrow the money using the city’s high credit rating to lower costs, said Clifford Lanier of the Frazer Lanier Company, which set up the bond and agreement. Lanier said the school board would be responsible for paying back the bond.
“Nothing is coming out of the city’s treasury,” Lanier said. “The city is just the conduit.”
Oxford Superintendent Jeff Goodwin, who attended the meeting, said renovations had already begun at Coldwater Elementary and much of the $8 million would be used to continue that work.
“The school will be remodeled inside and out,” Goodwin said. “So far we’ve just started renovating a few of the empty classrooms.”
Goodwin said once the project is completed, Coldwater would be a state-of-the-art facility.
“When we’re done, Coldwater will be very advanced in terms of technology with smart boards and digital projectors, iPad carts and Macbooks,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin said the school board was considering using a portion of the money to also build career center classrooms at Oxford High. He said the scope of the project has not been fully planned or bid out yet since the board did not know how much money it would receive.
Goodwin said the board’s goal is to build classrooms for courses in pre-engineering, business, health care science and other career-oriented subjects.
The council also approved an agreement to refinance the $9.8 million left in a $10.4 million bond issued to the school system in 2004. The refinancing will allow the school board to save money when paying back the bond. The previous bond was used in the construction of C.E. Hanna School and to renovate part of Oxford High.
Also during the council’s pre-meeting, Margaret Hatley, director of the Saving Animals Volunteer Effort or SAVE of Calhoun County, requested the city provide a grant that would go directly toward helping Oxford residents spay and neuter their pets. Hatley said the city of Anniston currently provides a grant to her organization to help its residents. The council decided get more information about the organization before making a decision.
“Our mission is to alleviate overpopulation,” Hatley said.
Hatley said SAVE was formed in 2009 to help people who cannot afford to spay and neuter their pets on their own. She said most of her organization’s money comes from fundraising and that 30 percent of the surgeries it funded last year were in Oxford. She said that through an agreement with a clinic in Birmingham, a special truck is sent to the area periodically to perform the surgeries. Residents are asked to pay what they can for their pets’ surgeries but if they cannot pay anything, the surgeries are still done free of charge.
“We’ve never turned anyone away,” Hatley said.
Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star