Bond Updates

  • Stillwater S with Bond 2023INVESTING IN FUTURE PIONEERS

  • Vote! Bond 2023 - Feb 14

  • No Tax Increase
  • 10 Year Bond Cycle
  • $195 Million

Key Projects

    • New High School

    • Athletic Facilities

    • YMCA Swimlanes

    • Academic Tech & Texts

    • Extracurricular Activity Equipment, Uniforms & Musical Instruments

    • Maintenance

    • Transportation Vehicles

  • Planning for the bond has been an ongoing process consisting of:

    • Parent feedback from annual surveys
    • Long Range Facilities Planning Committee
    • Key Focus Group meetings with input from over 60 participants
      • Students
      • Teachers
      • Leaders
      • Community Members
    • Focus groups
    • Outside Consultant
    • Community Feedback Sessions

Stillwater Board of Education Proposes 2023 Bond Issue

  • (Stillwater, Oklahoma) On Tuesday, November 8, the Stillwater Board of Education voted unanimously to call a February 2023 election to adopt a $195,000,000 bond issue. 

    The 2023 Bond Issue will consist of two propositions. Proposition I is for $190,000,000 to be used to support the bulk of a number of projects the district hopes to implement if the issue passes, while Proposition II calls for $5,000,000 to provide funds for transportation equipment. 

    “School districts need bond issues, not only for expansion and improvements, but to operate day to day,” says Superintendent Uwe Gordon. “They help provide about twenty percent of our operating budget. Bond 2023 is a pivotal part of the long range vision for SPS and the success of our students.”

    Key projects planned include a new high school to be constructed north of Pioneer Stadium, expansions to and improvements of athletic facilities, maintenance at all sites, academic technology & materials, extracurricular activity equipment, uniforms, musical instruments, buses, and vehicles. 

    “The existing Stillwater High School was built in 1960,” says Gordon. “The round top gym is even older, and when you walk in there, it’s like you’ve stepped back to the 50s, which is neat in a certain way, but our kids deserve new, modern spaces in which to learn and grow.”

    Plans call for an all-new, two-story high school to be built in the current location of Cimarron Plaza. SPS already owns that property, and businesses located there have been kept informed that SPS intends to use the space in the near future. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2023.

    “One of the first things I like to remind everyone is that this bond issue will not raise your taxes,” says Gordon. “While this is the largest bond issue ever proposed in Stillwater, a commitment to keeping taxes at their current levels has been a driving force behind the planning of this bond.” 

    “If we’d gone with the typical six year cycle, we’d have had to choose to either raise taxes or, alternatively, build part of a high school, wait for the next bond cycle, hope it passes, and then wait for more construction,” says the superintendent. “The ten year nature of this bond proposal means we’ll be able to acquire the money we need for the new high school sooner and have those doors open, fingers crossed, in the fall of 2026, with no change to the community’s tax rate.”

    Specifics of exactly what the high school will look like or how it will be laid out are still pending. “Inflation, rising construction costs, and changing interest rates means exactly what we can get with these funds changes on a daily basis,” says Gordon. “We’ve been working with our designer, 505 Architects, throughout this process, and as we get closer to the bond vote, we’ll really start finalizing those plans and sharing them with the community on a much more detailed level.”

    If construction delays occur, Gordon says it wouldn’t be ideal, but also not overly disruptive. “If we can’t welcome children to the new high school when we hope to, the fact that we still have the current SHS, means we have some flexibility on when things happen.” 

    Also included in the bond are plans to renovate or replace portions of athletic facilities, including gym spaces and locker rooms, that date as far back as the 1960s. The district will also purchase four competitive lanes at a soon to be constructed YMCA facility. New locker room spaces and a weight facility will be added on to the north side of existing structures and some rearrangement of space will occur. 

    “After some space improvements in both locations, Cheer and pom will move to the existing weight room, and Soccer, Cross Country, and Track will take over the existing cheer gym,” says Gordon. “All of our sports have the potential to benefit from this bond issue.” Construction and renovation of the Athletic spaces is planned to occur from spring of 2027 through summer of 2028.

    While this particular bond issue doesn’t include specific plans for capital improvements at sites other than the high school, many district schools have seen recent upgrades, says Gordon. Sangre Ridge, the middle school, and SJHS all received renovations from the 2017 bond, which also included an all new Westwood Elementary that was completed in the fall of 2019. “We’ll also be spending some other, non-bond funds to address specific needs at schools,” he says. “For instance, the open concept classrooms at Sangre Ridge will be enclosed this summer. I’m really excited about that change and the increased safety it will bring.”

    As with many school bond issues, other projects are planned beyond facility improvements. “Maintenance isn’t as glamorous or flashy as a new building,” says Gordon, “but it’s necessary to keep those facilities operational and suitable as the spaces Stillwater’s children deserve. With funding, we’ll be able to extend the operational life of spaces like our wonderful Performing Arts Center, and address HVAC needs, roofs, and exterior and parking lot lighting.” Technology, including a one-to-one internet device plan for grades eight through twelve, textbooks, band and orchestra instruments and uniforms, are also included. 

    “I’m happy with the plan we have, though I know it will change some as we move through the next ten years. This bond has the potential to really change things in Stillwater. I can’t tell you how to vote,” says Gordon, “but I can ask that you do vote in February.”

    Information about the bond, including progress updates, will be available at


Estimated Expenditures

  • New High School Building $78,000,000
  • Tech, Texts, Etc. $38,400,000
  • Maintenance $22,000,000
  • Financing and Prep $21,000,000
  • HS Athletics $17,600,000
  • To Be Allocated $10,000,000
  • Transportation $5,000,000
  • Swim Lanes $3,000,000

Concept Plans

  • SHS Concept Site Plan


    SHS Concept Floor Plan Level 1


    SHS Concept Floor Plan Level 2


    SHS Athletics Concept Floor Plan

YMCA Concept Images

  • A portion of Bond 2023 will be used to purchase 4 lanes of a pool at a proposed new YMCA to be located on 12th street between Hester and Washington.

From the Superintendent's Updates...

  • January 5, 2023

    Bond 2023
    On February 14, 2023, two school bond propositions will be put to voters living in the Stillwater Public Schools district boundaries. In each of my updates leading to the election, I’ll be sharing some more information about the bond, to help you make an informed decision at the polls.

    Proposition one is for $190 million dollars to support academic, athletic, and extracurricular activities. It includes money for textbooks, hardware, software, equipment, instruments, uniforms, maintenance, and, of course, facility improvements. This bond includes $78 million for a new high school building and $17.6 million for athletic facilities.

    Proposition two is for $5 million dollars for transportation, including new buses and vehicles.

    You can find more information at and in future updates.

    I encourage every registered voter to make their voice heard on February 14. The last day to register to vote in this upcoming election is January 20 and any US citizen who will be 18 years old by February 14 is eligible to register. If you aren’t already, register to vote at   

    January 13, 2023

    Who votes?

    The vote for Bond 2023 is just a little more than one month away. Recently, I’ve been asked who can vote in this election? It’s any registered voter in the boundaries of the school district. Stillwater itself is just 30 square miles, but the SPS district covers more than 110 square miles of Payne county (and roughly 2 square miles Noble county). If you live within the boundaries seen below, you can vote in the bond election on February 14. 

    If you live outside of this area, even if your children are attending the district, you are not eligible to vote. Please know that’s a state election policy, not something the school district has control of. I’d encourage everyone to make every effort to live in the district of their choice to make sure they can vote in the school bond and board elections that affect their children.


    A Closer Look at the HS Campus

    In addition to ongoing educational and facility support, Bond 2023 has the potential to provide for changes to the SHS campus. Below is an approximation of what the SHS campus may look like after phase one (the portion supported by bond 2023)is complete. This map is rotated with north on the left.

    SHS Concept Site PlanChanges you might note include:

    • Construction of the new HS, planned to open in Fall 2026.

    • A new multipurpose field north of the PAC, following removal of the Art Building, portables, and the two story portion of the existing HS.

    • Conversion of the front two thirds of the current SHS into the 9th Grade Center

    • Athletic facility changes, planned completion Fall/Winter 2027

      • Locker room renovations

      • Repurposing of some athletic facilities to other functions. Weight room to cheer/pom locker room/gymnasium. Cheer/pom gym to Track, XC, Soccer, and Girls Wrestling locker rooms.

      • A new weight room for all sports and a Football locker room

    • Removal of the buildings at Cimarron Plaza. Some of the existing spaces at Cimarron plaza serve existing functions, like an indoor practice area, and will remain as needed.


    A Look Inside SHS 

    Below are some floor plans that will help provide a rough idea of how the space in the new HS will be laid out. Please know that these are not completed plans, and as the design process continues should the bond pass, changes and tweaks will be made.

    SHS Concept Floor Plan Level 1

    A few core concepts of this design:

    • Centralized student services - the red areas on the first floor show that administration, wellness, and guidance will all be brought together and centralized near the entrance and the student center to improve both the student experience and the efficiency of staff functions. 

    • Subject wings - Areas of the school will be dedicated to key subjects

    • Easy access to the adaptive PE gym for SPED students.

    • Courtyards - SPED, Art, Science, the student center and library will have functional outdoor areas. That combined with plans for lots of natural light should help create a positive, welcoming environment that’s good for students’ mental health.. SHS Concept Floor Plan Level 2


    Once again, I encourage everyone to vote on February 14. January 20 is the last day to register for this election -


    If you are interested in me presenting about the Bond to your local organization, please reach out to Annette Jones, [email protected] or 405 .533.6300 to arrange a time. 

    January 22, 2023

    A Long Range Vision for SHS and SPS

    There has been a little bit of confusion around some concept sketches seen last year of a possible configuration of the SHS campus being mistaken as a plan for the 2023 Bond, rather than an idea of what we might move toward. Below is an image of our latest campus concept for the long term arrangement of the SHS campus. I asked my resident graphics guru to intentionally blur it to remind everyone that this is a notion of where we’d like to go, not a finalized plan.



    As community priorities change, this campus concept will no doubt change with them. The current high school was built over a 50 year period, and I’m sure what we have today is not what the citizens of Stillwater envisioned in the 1950s. When SHS’s current location was proposed, the community felt that it was way too far out of town. Like them, we can’t predict the future of what Stillwater will be, but we feel that we have a good vision, and we’re confident that the projects in Bond 2023 will help lay the groundwork and flexibility for the continued evolution of the SHS campus and SPS operations. 

    My Bond 2023 gripes and wishes

    When I left my former position as SHS Principal, I told the high school staff that at some point in my new role, I’d have to make a decision that would disappoint, frustrate, or anger them, and I asked for their grace and understanding when that occurs. However, I didn’t fully realize the number of decisions I’d have to make in which I would have to disappoint, frustrate, or anger myself.

    The realities of budgets, inflation, interest rates, and our commitment to a no tax increase bond issue mean that while preparing Bond 2023, there have been some things on which we’ve had to compromise. Since I started as Superintendent, there have been four interest rate increases. Construction costs continue to rise. Each increase cuts into our purchasing power. None of our decisions about what to include or not include in this bond issue have been made lightly.

    Below are a few of the items we’ve had to make hard decisions around and that I truly wish could be realized now instead of in the future.

    • The Size of the New HS. 

      • I wish it could be bigger – more spaces for students to interact, lounge, and learn – and with more classrooms for future growth.

    • The Performing Arts Wing

      • The new SHS was originally planned to include 20,000 square feet of space for Band. I will long remember the excited face of a band dad who works in the admin building when he saw the concept floorplan… and the disappointment when he saw it had been removed as construction costs and interest rates climbed.

    • The Timeline for Relocation of Some Athletics

      • I want all our students involved in activities to have easier access to their facilities and to have those facilities be the best they can be. I want new Softball, Baseball, and Tennis facilities on our HS campus and wish finances could allow that to happen now instead of in the future..

    • The Performing Arts Wing

      • A few things I’d hoped to be able to include:

        • Tornado shelters, rated for maximum protection, at all sites

        • Upgrades or a new building for Lincoln Academy

        • Continued improvements to the Junior High

        • Updates to the interior and exterior of Virtual Academy

    • Teacher and Staff Salaries

      • Some have asked why we can’t pay teachers more with bond funds. Bonds can’t be used for that, but I do wish funding allocations from the state would allow all districts to increase teacher salaries.


    • Other Facility Improvements

      • I’m proud that the district puts funds into student facilities first and foremost, but most districts our size have higher quality administration buildings than we do. Our admin building was renovated last in 1971. The former Kicker building that houses Nutrition and Facilities has never received an update. IT is housed elsewhere. Aged structures, decentralized staff, and cramped spaces do not provide an ideal experience for staff, parents, or students.

    • All the other things

      • I wish we could tackle all of our needs more quickly, but I’m excited about the 1 to 1 technology initiative we’ll be able to achieve under bond 2023, the curriculum and equipment it will provide.

    With limited funds, the decision to include something means the exclusion of something else. Despite all my “gripes” about what we can’t do with this bond, I’m excited about what we can do. Thank you to every student, parent, teacher, staff person, and community member that worked to provide feedback as Bond 2023 was developed. 

    February 3, 2023

    Bond 2023
    As I write this we are just eleven days from the Bond 2023 election on February 14. 


    Voting Info

    • Polls open from 7am-7pm

    • Registered voters living in the boundaries of the Stillwater Public Schools district are eligible to participate. 


    Key Bond Points

    • $195 million for student facilities, technology, and programs

    • No tax rate increase

    • A new high school

    • Affects every student - providing maintenance, devices, equipment, and curriculum for students across the entire district.


    Please make an informed decision when you vote. Learn more at If you need me or someone from my office to make a presentation/Q&A session on the bond for your organization, please contact Annette Jones, [email protected]