Temple Has Plans for New Center School

The first selectman says he will appoint a committee to study ideas.


Oxford First Selectman George Temple has plans to build a new Oxford Center School while he is in office.

The first-term Republican said he’s in the process of putting together a committee to explore options for a new grades 3-5 elementary school.

Temple’s goal, he said, would be to build a new, two-story school in between Quaker Farms School and Great Oak Middle School. 

“We would have the three schools, a library, tennis courts, a playscape all up there,” he said. “It would be a great environment.”

He said that any proposals for a new school would have to be approved by residents at a referendum before it could be constructed. That is a long way away, he said.

“We don’t want to drag our feet on this and have a committee bog this down,” he said. “We want the committee to act quickly and decisively, but these things take some time.”

The current school has water problems and is not an ideal setup for an elementary school, Temple said.

“There are also some safety concerns at the school,” he said. “And we want to get rid of the campus buildings, which I never thought were a good idea.”

He said the current facility could be used as a Board of Education central office location, a recreation center, an auditorium for a community theater and community meeting space. The fields in back of the building could be used by local sports programs, he said.

The town has hired an engineer to plan for the new school and work with the committee once it is formed, Temple said.

Temple said some have suggested renovating the current school. But he said that wouldn’t be cost-effective.

“That would cost 20s of millions of dollars, and we still wouldn’t alleviate some of the safety concerns,” he said. “We still wouldn’t negate the need for campus buildings. And there would still be problems with the land and location. So I don’t think that is the right move.”

He said the school board and administrators have given early indications that they support having the school in between the middle school and Quaker Farms school. He did not have an estimated figure about how much the town would be prepared to spend on a new school. 

Joe Blow February 07, 2013 at 03:39 PM
Does anybody on the gubbmint gravy train realize we are in a depression? The country is broke and deep in debt, do they realize this? The bleeding has got to stop.
xxxoxox February 07, 2013 at 03:47 PM
With due respect to the First Selectman, the school board has heard nothing about this. The school board is just that, a board and fuctions as a body. Off the cuff conversations with individual members is not and should not be construed as board agreement. While their is growing recognition of the need to address issues with CS and potential need for a new school, this has been very loose talk, not a plan. With no presentation to the board, there can be no assertation of board "agreement." While I have appreciated the FS's support and willingness to work with the BOE, our collective role as an oversight and decision-making body needs to be given due consideration and respect. I look forward to hearing more.
xxxoxox February 07, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Sentence 4: there. I hate this phone.
Tush February 07, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Great idea, we need it! But where is the room between Great Oak and Quaker Farms schools?
Tush February 07, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Cute, Stephen... but you forgot "fuctions".... I hate phone texting too!
Kelly Donohue February 07, 2013 at 04:25 PM
I think this is ridiculous. First we have all our 3-5 graders coming home to tell us that they were told by the selectman in a school assembly that we are definitely building a new school between Quaker Farms and Great Oak and now this article. Irresponsible, political pandering.
Joe Blow February 07, 2013 at 04:31 PM
I agree Kelly. Using "the children" for political pandering is a new trend for lowness. Well George, to promised the children so you better be able to back it up now. I hope you have deep pockets or do you intend to ram it down our throats.
Megan Crandlemire February 07, 2013 at 04:32 PM
This article says "the town has hired an engineer to plan for the school" - is that correct? That makes it sound like we're spending money already yet the BOE hasn't officially talked about the issue yet?
Tush February 07, 2013 at 04:51 PM
I had no idea the children were told already so I completely agree that his approach is ludicrous. However, I am all for a new school. We can't keep "fixing" this old building at huge costs every time. The first selectman should follow channels and work with appropriate boards to make it happen.
Paul Singley February 07, 2013 at 05:18 PM
George said last night the town has hired an engineer. I will attempt to get more details.
Me February 07, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Doesn't ever read the meeting minutes of the Town? 1/16 BOS meeting, page 7. I knew about this 2 weeks ago. http://www.oxford-ct.gov/lib/site/data/meeting_documents/0cb6e1060e2033615e1ca2ae4be0fbd5/BOSmin116.pdf
Me February 07, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Darn phone too, first line meant to say, "Doesn't anyone..."
Duane Farrell February 07, 2013 at 06:09 PM
The School Facilities Study conducted 5 years ago, identified numerous safety, environmental and maintenance issues with Center School. Oxford paid $50,000.00 to have professional architects for thier work, it's a shame our administrators haven't read it. One recommendation was to build additions on the 2 existing elementary schools to absorb Center Schools population creating a 3 school system. That would avoid building another stand alone building, while reducing the long term maintenance and administrative costs. Personnel costs could be substantially reduced.
Tush February 07, 2013 at 06:17 PM
Thank you. I read the minutes. Looks to me that BOTH Temple and Haney are in on this. No mention of BOE discussion at all. However, I am all for a study and possibly a new school.
Janis Hardy February 07, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Politics, Politics, Politics! All promoted by a master politician!
Fed Up February 07, 2013 at 08:31 PM
Procedure as usual will not be followed.Mr.Temple and Mr.Haney are putting the screws to the taxpayers.First the field of dreams,next a library,dog pound, and now a new school.People wake up.This dynamic duo needs to go.
Dad in Oxford February 07, 2013 at 09:23 PM
My children came home and told me the same thing, that a new school was being built between Quaker Farms and Great Oak, but opposite side if the road. If you go up there now, there appears to be a driveway already being cleared out. Is this to get back there to see the site or something else, who knows. I told my kids there was no truth to this because nothing has been planned for or discussed by the community. It sounds as if George is starting rhetoric for the election year and he will TRY to use this to his advantage. Where is the asphalt machine? Continuing to spend without a long-term plan is destructive and will only put us in more debt that we cannot afford. We have spent money on this already, lets look at those past plans.
JYD February 07, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Past administrations have had plenty of time to look at past plans. I'm tired of taking years to decide not to act. I love the new field, I love the fact we're having serious conversations about a dog pound and library, and I totally support a new school. Come to think of it, I love the fact that town hall is open 5 days a week. And if it costs me a little more tax-wise, at least I'll know it's going to something I support.
Dad in Oxford February 07, 2013 at 11:36 PM
I would support it too if our tax base could support it. By the way, where are all of the new businesses the new Economic Development Director said he was going to bring?
Jen February 07, 2013 at 11:52 PM
What are we arguing about? The fact that the FS is pushing the issue instead of the BOE? Seriously? That's just plain stupid. The fact remains that Center School should have been replace 30 years ago. It is full of mold, asbestos and is a security nightmare. Moving the school up to the Quaker Farms area makes sense both for security and transportation reasons. Will it cost a lot of money? Of course, but the health and safety of our children is more than worth the price. Stop the bickering. Try being part of the solution instead creating more arguments because you don't like the political party of someone. I really don't care who leads the charge for the new school, I'm just glad someone is finally taking the lead. Thank you Mr. Temple.
Tush February 08, 2013 at 02:25 AM
Jen, I agree with you. Center has been a nightmare for many years and we are only throwing money away with useless repairs. I love this town and community. Let's keep an open mind and be positive about what will be good investments/improvements so we can be proud and enjoy where we live.
Joe Blow February 08, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Ya must be a liberal. Guess what? The country is broke(n).
JYD February 08, 2013 at 02:34 PM
The new businesses are in the same place as the rest of CT... They ain't coming as long as our state legislature and governor make our business environment looks as unattractive as possible. That's why now is a good time to invest in our town infrastructure. Improved schoolsl, library, etc. makes us stand out against area towns which will better our chances of economic development down the road when times are better. These are the smart, albeit short-term painful, actions that pay off huge for Oxford in the long run. Hey - Wouldn't it be nice to get the Amazon distribution center in the airport area?
JYD February 08, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Just the opposite, and does it really matter? Here's a thought for all our elected leaders. Just once or twice, I would love to hear, "Oxford first. Party second."
Joe Blow February 08, 2013 at 03:06 PM
"party second", one snake two heads. They are both determined to destroy our country. What part of broke aren't you getting?
James February 09, 2013 at 12:51 AM
I think it would be a great idea to maybe knock down center and create a shopping/grocery market!
Richie B February 10, 2013 at 02:12 AM
Richie B 7:15 pm on Thursday, February 7, 2013 The school board has heard nothing about this?? Seriously? Since when is Steve the official spokesperson for the Board of Education? Who's playing politics with our children? Readers, please be careful not to construe comments on the blog as fact.


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