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Oxford University School gets $1 million

Petre Thomas

 

The Oxford University School (OUS), a private elementary school in Oxford, recently reached a deal with an investment group to sell the school’s land, freeing the school from the approximately $1 million owed on the property. 

According to Doug Alexander, vice chairman of the OUS Board of Trustees, the school owed just short of $1 million, including interest. The investment group, which wishes to remain anonymous, is not only relieving the school of its debt but also allowing it to stay on the property without paying rent for the foreseeable future.

Alexander, who has a son and a grandson that attend the school, called the actions of the investment group a “transformational transaction” that in one fail swoop relived the cloud that was hanging over the school’s head. 

“It’s a financial burden lifted that enables us to continue to move forward and to be the best school of our type in Mississippi,” he said. 

Alexander said that the school has a lease with the investment group that is based upon the future enrollment.

“Until our enrollment gets up much higher, there will be no rent payments made,” he said.   

In a press release, the buyers stated that they “cherish OUS” and want to “make sure that OUS could continue to provide its vital mission in the Oxford community for many years to come.”

Alexander said it is not unusual in a deal like this to have the donors wish to remain anonymous.

“They want to do things quietly and benevolently without any fanfare or publicity for it,” he said. “That’s not the reason they did it.”

With the school’s debt lifted, it will concentrate on its future growth. 

The school will add a fifth grade next year and offer scholarships to any new students who enroll. Though these initiatives were planned before the sale, the school will have more flexibility now.

“Anything and everything we do is easier now without the interest and principle we owed on that land,” Alexander said.

“We’ve relieved a tremendous burden, and we can actually plan ahead for more than one year.” 

OUS headmaster Tommy Naron said the school is also planning to move into a new facility. 

The school has purchased and begun work on a piece of land, but has not started construction on the actual school buildings. 

Naron said the financial flexibility the school has will play a large role in allowing OUS to move forward with its long-term plans.

“This is a goal for us all: to be able to finish the vision for our new school now that we already have the property, the dirty work and utilities done,” Naron said. 

“The opportunity now presents itself for us to fulfill that vision.”

The school has not yet determined how long it will stay at its current location or when it will begin construction on its new location.

Alexander said OUS is a fabulous school that offers a price that is unbelievable when compared to sending kids to Memphis or Atlanta. 

“Our goal is to have the best pre-K through seven school in the state of Mississippi,” Alexander said. “And that’s what we’re working on.”