Eighty years after the school opened, Rogers is finally getting their own stadium. Excitement filled the air as school leaders, alumni, students, and community members gathered for the groundbreaking on November 1st. This much-anticipated development is funded by the $415 million bond project passed by voters in 2015.
"Tulsans said yes. Eight-five percent of Tulsans said, ‘Absolutely we are going to invest in our kids. We’re going to invest in our schools. We’re going to make sure our schools safe and warm and dry and educational conducive to learning. We’re also going to recognize that extracurricular activities like the arts and athletics play a really, really important role in student success in school.’ That is what this project is recognizing. We’re grateful for everyone in Tulsa for continuing to support those bond projects,” said Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist.
The stadium was designed by David Reed of Sparks Reed Architecture. It will mimic the art deco style of the original school building, which was built in 1939. The stadium will be able to hold 1,000 fans for Rogers’ soccer games, track meets, and football games. It will also be available for other schools in the area to use. Right now, student athletes at Rogers have to play at facilities off-site, making for many long nights. When the stadium opens for the 2020-2021 school year, they will finally be able to play on their own field.
“This is a great day for this school. It’s a great day for this neighborhood. It’s a great day for the school district, and it is a great day for the city of Tulsa,” said Gil Cloud, Executive Director of Athletics for Tulsa Public Schools. “It’s been a long, long time since there’s been a stadium erected in the City of Tulsa, and we’re glad to be a part of that. It’s been a labor of love to get to this point. We are certainly excited about the future of Will Rogers and Will Rogers’s athletics and academics.”
With so many alumni present, the groundbreaking became a sort of reunion for many in attendance. Coach Cloud spotted his former defensive line coach in the crowd of spectators and stopped to say what a great influence Coach Davis had been in his life. When Senator David Rader came up to the podium to speak, he reminisced about his days at Rogers and all the great athletes that played for the school over the years – much to the delight of his fellow alums in the audience. By the end of his speech, the former TU coach made sure that everyone was focused on the future.
“Let’s not just look backwards,” said Rader. “For sure today, we are looking forward. This is a sign of good things for Will Rogers.”