March 07, 2012 - Some minor changes will be coming to Oxford High School this summer.
During the Oxford Community Schools Board of Education meeting on Monday, Feb. 27, Superintendent Dr. William Skilling announced two remodeling projects the district would be doing over the summer.
First, the current location of the school spirit store would be transformed into a digital media lab, complete with a sound recording room and space for a future radio station, while the old middle school offices would be transformed into a small theater.
According to Tim Loock, assistant superintendent for business and operations, the cost for the projects has yet to be determined. He added some funding may come from bond dollars, while some funding may come from the district's operational budget.
"It's still waiting to be determined," Loock said.
Skilling said turning the school's store into a digital media lab was going to "enhance our digital video program."
Currently, the digital media lab is housed on the opposite side of the school. The new location would place the lab next to the television studio. Skilling said that current set-up does not make the best use of either space.
"Right now, we are restricted; we are either in one area or the other," he said. "That is not how it works. It has to be a free flow - students being able to go into the digital media lab, while others might be video taping something within the studio."
"If you have these spaces split apart in different parts of the building like it currently is, we (students) are either all in the digital media lab or are all in the TV studio," Skilling continued. "Well, the TV studio doesn't accommodate 24 students working in that environment. You need kids putting production together through editing in the digital media lab, doing layover, text (and) creating special effects."
The new lab will give students the opportunity to create and produce video pieces, hard copy and virtual content for the schools website.
According to Skilling, the reason for the lab occupying the space of the school's store was in order to "better utilize the space."
"We don't make really good use of the store," he said. "It's only open an hour a day, and with the way marketing is going, you have to bring the product to the people."
He said the store would be turned into a mobile station that would be open during lunch and athletic events taking place inside and outside the school.
In addition to the new digital lab, the old middle school offices, which currently houses the technology and food service department, would be gutted in order to build a second theater stage complete with seating for approximately 100 people in order to hold practices and be used for small performances.
Skilling said the main point of the secondary theater room was to be a teaching and practice room for the theater program.
According to Skilling, approximately 70 to 80 percent of the Performing Art Center's usage is for OHS play and musical rehearsals and practices, so the secondary stage would help free up the center for other performances, both inside and outside the school.
"We turn a lot of people away, a lot of rentals in particular because it is tied up for our own use," he said.
With the addition of a secondary stage, the orchestra and symphony band could begin rehearsing at the same time.
"The reason you need your orchestra to rehearse at the same time as your top symphony band is practicing so you can join the two and create a symphony orchestra band," Skilling said.
A new dance program, which would hold classes on the new stage, is also in the works Skilling said. Curriculum would be written sometime before the 2013 school year.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.