As Oklahoma’s oldest public school district, Stillwater Public Schools (SPS) long enjoyed a reputation for academic achievement. But in recent years, outdated facilities and capacity issues failed to reflect the district’s commitment to excellence. Stillwater voters acted, passing a bond issue in February of 2011 that dedicated a portion of the funds to replacing two of the district’s schools: Highland Park Elementary and Will Rogers Elementary.
Selser Schaefer Architects, working with design partner Ross Barney Architects, spent weeks gathering input from administrators, teachers, and parents to truly understand the vision, needs, and desires of the school communities. The resulting schools go beyond spacious new structures, to exceptional learning environments for students.
Seemingly small details such as controlled daylight, a connection with the outdoors, and interactive gathering spaces all contribute to the bright, positive atmosphere that greets students and teachers each morning. And because safety is imperative, weather-secure corridors with steel-reinforced concrete walls and roll-down doors create safe areas to hold the entire school population during severe weather.
“Great design doesn’t have to be expensive,” said Selser Schaefer Architects’ Robert Schaefer AIA, LEED® AP BD+C. “Working within the district’s budget, we created an atmosphere that lets students know they are cared for and capable of great things.”
The respect shown to students has spread, with students not only exhibiting improved academic performance but better attendance and behavior as well.