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Planning for the future: UGA students create options for Oxford

Staff Photo: Michelle Floyd Students from the University of Georgia's Metropolitan Design Studio are working on plans that would better connect the city of Oxford to Oxford College. Pictured are Veronica Pimentel, left, from Conyers, and Jisoo Park from Marietta working on designs for the city's community center.

Staff Photo: Michelle Floyd Students from the University of Georgia's Metropolitan Design Studio are working on plans that would better connect the city of Oxford to Oxford College. Pictured are Veronica Pimentel, left, from Conyers, and Jisoo Park from Marietta working on designs for the city's community center.

OXFORD --Students from the University of Georgia hope the city of Oxford will use some of their ideas for future plans.

Students from the University of Georgia's Metropolitan Design Studio are working on suggestions for the city's master plan and ideas that would help bring the city of Oxford together with Oxford College.

Eleven landscape architect students in their fourth year at UGA have spent time this year talking with citizens, meeting with city and college officials and interviewing people they come in contact with along the way.

"It's so unique because the students get to work with people in the community rather than being in the classroom," said professor Hank Methvin.

The students, who are living in Clark's Grove and use The Center for Community Preservation and Planning's building while working on the project, then took the information they gathered to design some plans for the city. They use computer software like Adobe Photoshop and design programs, mapping systems and traditional paper and pencils to illustrate their ideas.

One group of students came up with some options for the city's community center, which formerly housed city hall and the police department.

"We're redesigning the facade of the building and making it more useful," said Veronica Pimentel, a student from Conyers.

Some ideas she and her partner came up with include the addition of a coffee shop, a fresh market and a bookstore.

"(Oxford) is very quiet and tiny," said her partner Jisoo Park, a student from Marietta. "It would help bring more people in."

Student groups also are working on plans for a park and a more appealing entrance for Oxford College, placing points of interest along the trail system, exploring options for the Palmer-Stone Elementary School building and making Ga. Highway 81 more pedestrian friendly.

"All of the ideas will come together in a long-term plan as a guide or recommendation for the city," Methvin said.

The students plan to present their ideas to the City Council at 6 p.m. today at Oxford's City Hall.

Oxford Mayor Jerry Roseberry said the City Council will welcome an updated master plan, which was last changed five or six years ago.

"There's been a lot of changes," he said.

The city and college each will pay $3,750, and donations raised by The Center cover any other expenses for the plans.

"(The students) bring a new objective eye to our community," said Kay Lee, executive director of The Center. "They're way more than just students -- they're the next generation who will get to enjoy this."

While in town, the students also are working on plans for a public park in Newborn and an environmentally friendly sustainability project for the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority, as well as a belt line project in Atlanta.