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Oxford High School Athletic Facility Named, Slated for September Completion

Oxford, Ala. (May 8, 2023) - The new athletic facility under construction at Oxford High School (OHS) has been officially named the Oxford High School Champions Athletic Center. The project is slated for completion in September 2023 and will boast approximately 63,000 square feet of indoor practice, sports medicine, locker room, weight room, training, multipurpose, office and meeting spaces for all student athletics. An additional highlight of the facility will be the rooftop terrace overlooking the football field.
The new center honors several Hall of Famers in Oxford’s history with namings:
- Bill Burgess and Robert Herring Indoor Practice Facility
- Dr. James H. Lett Sports Medicine and Training Facility
- Jack Grizzard Team Room
The Burgess family reaction is heartfelt. “Oxford will always be home. Our time at Oxford High School is full of timeless memories. This is such an honor for the entire Burgess family as well as all the incredible coaches and players who were part of this era of Oxford athletics.”
Coach Grizzard coached for 11 seasons beginning in 1960. Dr. Lett served as the team physician for 33 years. His daughter, Paula Lett Hoffman, says the family is humbled the board would choose to name the sports medicine facility in his honor. “Daddy loved every minute of helping the athletes of Oxford High School, his alma mater.”
The project has been under construction since September 2021, and there has been much talk about the facility, its benefits and uses. A local bond was issued for the construction by the board of education in 2020.
“This is the final phase of our current capital project for Oxford High School which has been in the works for more than a decade,” says Oxford City Schools Superintendent Dr. Shannon Stanley. Dr. Stanley is excited the facility is not only focused on the student athletic performance but also on injury prevention through sports medicine and conditioning to maintain the health and wellness of students.
In addition to student athletes and sports teams, the indoor field and meeting spaces will be accessible to band, robotics and other academic organizations. Coordination of scheduling will ensure an equitable use of the space by a variety of student teams and organizations.
Varsity girls basketball coach Melissa Bennett is looking forward to using the facility, particularly the new weight equipment. “There will be plenty of room, new tools to help our athletes improve and basically a brand-new everything. We strive for being the best at Oxford and having the best athletic facility helps attain that goal,” says Coach Bennett.
Moving the bulk of athletics into the new facility frees up space to expand fine arts, which is also a much-needed area of expansion. The athletic facility is a win-win for the 1277-count OHS student body as more than 700 students participate in athletic programs and more than 300 students are enrolled in fine arts. This reflects long-term benefits to significant percentages of the student body in both athletics and the arts.
Dr. Stanley echoes this sentiment. “The Oxford High School Champions Athletic Center enhances our already beautiful campus and provides first-class facilities, equipment, and services that will benefit our students for years to come.”
Hall of Famer Coach Herring won three state championships and came inches from winning two more at OHS. His family also sees the center as an emblem of excellence, as was the standard set by Coach Herring. “Coach Herring gave everything he had to Oxford High School. He loved everything about football. He loved seeing boys become men. He believed that average athletes could play winning football with great coaching and effort. Everything he did was first class from the field maintenance to cleaning bathrooms. He bled black and gold and enjoyed seeing his teams compete with class,” says the Herring family.
Well said, Herring family. Oxford City Schools believes the facility reflects the excellent standards and class set by so many generations before and will for many generations to come.
Ashley Stilwell
Public Information Officer