Bids being accepted for renovating the Oak Park Alumni Building in Laurel

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 6:09 PM CDT
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LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - The City of Laurel is currently accepting bids to renovate the historic Oak Park Alumni building.

First constructed in 1928, it’s 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 set up like a college campus. There were about 8 different buildings there at one 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,” said Magee.

“With all the people coming to Laurel, we want to let them go to the Oak Park Alumni building and see what Laurel is made of,” 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 record in the long jump previously held by Jesse Owens for 25 years.
  • Dr. Deborrah Hyde: The nation’s second African American female brain surgeon.

The last graduating class from Oak Park High School was in 1970.

In February 2021, the City of Laurel assumed ownership of the Oak Park Alumni Building at which time the effort to restore and rehabilitate the aging structure began.

In July 2021, the Laurel City Council approved an order to allow the city to use the services of Architect Michael McKinnon for design development for the rehabilitation of the building according to the original designs from 1928.

The building is on the listing for the Mississippi Department of Archives & History, which will require specific building materials which would have been used when it was first built.

Bids will be opened on October 11th and the cost for the project is expected to be around $250,000.

The work will include renovating the building from the roof all the way down to the flooring.

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

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