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.