Offers are accepted for the renovation of the Oak Park Alumni Building at Laurel

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LAUREL, Mississippi (WDAM) – The town of Laurel is currently accepting offers to renovate the historic Oak Park Alumni building.

First built in 1928, it is the last standing structure that was once part of a sprawling Oak Park Vocational High School campus.

Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee said the building is a very important part of the city’s rich history.

“It was laid out like a university campus. There were about 8 different buildings at a time and all the buildings are gone except this one and we want to preserve it and want it to be something people can enjoy, ”Magee said.

“With all the people that come to Laurel, we want to let them go to the Oak Park Alumni building and see what Laurel is all about,” he added.

Oak Park School High School has seen many notable graduates including;

  • Leontyne Price: The first African-American soprano to receive international acclaim.
  • Ralph Boston: In 1960, Boston set a world long jump record previously held by Jesse Owens for 25 years.
  • Dr. Deborrah Hyde: The second African American woman in neurosurgery in the country.

Oak Park High School’s last promotion dates back to 1970.

In February 2021, the Town of Laurel became the owner of the Oak Park Alumni Building, when efforts to restore and rehabilitate the aging structure began.

In July 2021, Laurel City Council approved an ordinance allowing the city to use the services of architect Michael McKinnon for the development of the design for the rehabilitation of the building to the original designs from 1928.

The building is on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s list, which will require specific building materials that would have been used in its construction.

Bids will open on October 11 and the cost of the project is expected to be approximately $ 250,000.

The work will include the renovation of the building from the roof to the floor.

The building is placed under the Laurel Parks and Recreation Department and will be available free to the Oak Park Alumni Association.

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