After being reintroduced, Ardmore City Schools’ $44 million bond election passed with 70 percent of the vote.
The bond provides funds for an 800-seat performing arts center, a new gymatorium at Jefferson Elementary, renovations at Ardmore High School and district vehicles. A similar $48 million bond issue failed last November. In Springer, a proposition that would have raised sales tax from 2 percent to 4 percent starting May 1, did not pass.
ACS Superintendent Kim Holland said the community support made all the difference. The Westheimer Foundation gave the district a $4 million grant to begin the project, which prevents the new bond from increasing millage, something Holland said was instrumental in getting the bond to pass.  
“If you talk to people who’ve lived in Ardmore for a long time, people who graduated in the 70s or 80s and now own businesses in town, they’ve been looking for an auditorium for a long time,” Holland said. “And people from the east side of town have been waiting for a gym at Jefferson.”
ACS band director Chauvin Aaron said the two main additions, the performing arts center and the Jefferson gym, will move the district closer to its ultimate goal of becoming a fine arts magnet school.
“I think this is going to be the beginning of Ardmore being able to do a lot in the fine arts area, to showcase our students and our community,” Aaron said.
The performing arts center will also house music and dance classes, art galleries and other rehearsal spaces.
“We’d like to thank the community for believing in our mission and these projects,” Aaron said. “These are going to greatly impact our students for decades to come.”
Speech and debate coach Brian Gunter said the performing arts center will be an asset for the district. He is making tentative plans to start staging one-act plays, something that isn’t as feasible in the space the program currently has.
“I know it came from a better approach this time around,” Gunter said. “70 percent is a huge jump, and the $4 million grant, I think, buoyed people’s attitudes toward this need.”  
Carter County Election Board Secretary Lizbeth Diane Hall said turnout for this vote was higher compared to last year’s bond election when the bond failed 851 to 519 in November. The majority voted Yes, but bond issues require 60 percent of the vote to pass. This time, it passed 1,024 to 431.
“It far exceeded the original vote,” Hall said.