Bright colors, new carpet and bold murals can't erase a dreadful day, but Oxford High's fresh decor is intended to lift spirits and help restore whatever comfort is possible there.
As some students and parents just saw during a three-day open house, the building that reopens Monday has new hallway paint and graphics, new tile at classroom doorways and snazzy new carpet. The northern Oakland County district's only regular high school has been shut since a sophomore opened fire after lunch hour Nov. 30, killing four teens, wounding six and grazing a 47-year-old teacher's left shoulder.
Blue and white lockers lining corridors will remain unused for an indefinite time as a safety reassurance measure to help smooth the re-entry transition. Their doors display hearts and paper hearts and snowflakes created by Oxford's younger students "to show their love and support ... with handwritten, heartfelt messages of love and encouragement," Superintendent Tim Throne posted last week.
He added: "We have heard from those watching from outside of our community how unique Oxford is and how the love and support we shower one another with is inspiring. Let this encourage you and strengthen you as we take this next step in our healing process."
A day before the emotional return, high school principal Steve Wolf says in a nearly four-minute "welcome back" video that he, teachers and other staff members "cannot wait to see you on Monday." (Video is under four photos below.)
Reporters and cameras are barred from the North Oxford Road campus "for the foreseeable future," administrators announced Saturday. The district released these photos of renovations at the school serving nearly 1,800 teens from five townships and two villages: