Oxford High School

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Oxford High School Connects Students and Technology

Oxford High School, in Oxford, Mississippi, is a small-town school with big expectations. In 2011, when the district needed to accommodate growth in its student population, administrators envisioned building a new high-tech, energy-efficient high school that would support their goal of putting a laptop in the hands of every student in grades seven through 12.

It was a bold vision. If realized, Oxford High School would be the first in its state to deliver a one-to-one digital learning environment. The community supported the initiative; a bond referendum raised $30 million for construction of the new high school. But it wasn't enough to deliver everything on the district's wish list. Oxford High School needed to stretch its investment beyond what traditional construction would allow. The answer was to build with the end in mind. 

Future energy savings: an added source of funding

Johnson Controls suggested the district use future energy savings to overcome the funding shortfall. Through an Energy Services Agreement (ESA), efficient lighting, heating and air conditioning systems were installed during construction with the expectation that over the lifecycle of the building, the projected energy and operational savings would more than make up for the first costs associated with creating a more sustainable facility.

A Metasys® building management system was also installed to control and monitor critical energy systems within the new 200,000 square-foot facility, which are powered by a modular central energy plant. Compared to a traditional central plant, the modular unit is less expensive to build, takes up less space, is less costly to maintain and can easily accommodate future expansion.

The projected utility and operational savings were then leveraged to fund the district's primary goal: to create a safe, inspiring learning environment by incorporating advanced technology throughout the facility.

Creating a connected learning environment

The vision for the new Oxford High School was to create a connected educational environment, with features like campus-wide Wi-Fi, streaming video, 70” LED screens in every classroom and laptops for every student.

To bring the vision to life in the most efficient way possible, Oxford named Johnson Controls the single source technology contractor. The Technology Contracting™ model typically lowers first costs by 8-12% and, in the long term, decreases operational and utility expenses because customers don't need to manage multiple systems under various vendors.

As Oxford High School's technology contractor, Johnson Controls:

  • Assisted with building design to eliminate redundant systems and cabling
  • Assumed the risk of implementing the network infrastructure and all connected technology systems
  • Accepted responsibility for coordinating with contractors and suppliers that provided IP-based components and systems for the building
  • Implemented the latest advancements in fire safety and access control
  • Took responsibility for on-time delivery and performance testing
The coordinated approach also laid the groundwork for future systems integration with other schools in the district.

Ensuring a safe, secure school

In any learning environment today, teachers can't teach and students can't learn if they don't feel safe. The new Oxford High School was designed to put security and safety first, and the Technology Contracting model made it possible to implement the most advanced security, fire safety and access controls strategy at Oxford.

The Johnson Controls P2000 security management system was installed to help the school reduce risk and keep occupants safe. The P2000 security management system monitors and controls access doors and provides real-time data to security and school personnel. Students are issued ID badges and must use them to get inside or to leave the building. Surveillance cameras monitor and record movement throughout the facility. Digital signage and zoned intercom systems keep students and teachers informed in real time. And in the event of an emergency or security breach, a one-touch button triggers a lockdown and alerts first responders.

"It can be done."

The Oxford High School experience demonstrates that school districts don't necessarily have to compromise on their wish list, even when traditional sources of funding fall short. As Oxford School District Superintendent Brian Harvey put it, "It can be done. This is a tremendous way to upgrade facilities or to improve facilities if you’re planning new construction. We wouldn’t have been able to do it otherwise."

The new Oxford High School opened its doors in January 2014 to more than 1,000 students. And as a result of its partnership with Johnson Controls, the school expects to:

  • Reduce energy use by the equivalent of more than 200 homes annually
  • Decrease its carbon footprint by the equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 537 acres of pine forest annually
  • Save $6 million in energy and operational costs over 15 years
  • Achieve LEED® Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, the first certification of a high school in Mississippi
The immediate benefits and projected savings are so significant, the district has decided to retrofit its old high school - and perhaps other buildings - to take advantage of the efficiencies that can be gained by standardizing on the Metasys building management system and scaling the high-powered IP network throughout the district.

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