OXFORD — School board members took their first step Tuesday morning to create a new freshmen academy at Oxford High School.
The Board of Education approved its first contract for the project.
Oxford will pay Hale Building Co. of Anniston $213,741 to prepare the site for construction.
Superintendent Jeff Goodwin said that work includes clearing a greenhouse and the old library building at the top of the hill, near where the original Oxford College building once stood.
The company also will pour the concrete slab where the new academy will go up.
It's the first step in the $6 million project to provide a separate building on campus for the city's freshmen.
Several national studies found the rate at which students leave school after ninth grade has nearly tripled in the last 30 years. Oxford administrators hope the extra attention for freshmen will prevent dropouts.
Oxford's capital plan slates construction for next fall with a projected opening date of 2010.
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