Tuesday, November 28, 2023

New Elementary School Changes Look to Save Money

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

Rendering of the future Central Elementary by Eley Guild Hardy Architects.

After bids for building the new Central Elementary School with an all-brick exterior came in over budget, the Oxford School District sought a variance from the city’s Land Development Code to allow metal paneling on a large portion of the new school.

The commission approved the variance Monday during its regular monthly meeting at City Hall.

The use of metal siding as an allowed building material was removed from the Land Development Code last year. In December, Oxford University School was approved for a variance after the Planning Commission said out-right banning metal siding was too restrictive.

City Planner Ben Requet said instead of changing the codes, the commission will hear variance requests to use metal siding on a case-by-case basis.

The original plans called for an all brick facade.

“When contemplating the building material requirements of the Land Development Code, it was important to the city leaders to have some aesthetic control over buildings being constructed in Oxford,” stated the planner comments in the application. “It was also important to the city leaders that our requirements were not so restrictive to limit diversity, resulting in buildings looking identical to other communities in Mississippi.”

According to the application for the variance, the district had originally planned to build the entire school with a brick facade; however, plans changed when bids came in over budget. The new plan calls for 13,072 -square feet of brick and 21,339 square feet of metal paneling.

By using the metal siding, the school district will save about $500,000, according to the application.