City Touts Plans For Skip Baughman Stadium

Image shows the city's plans of the future of where Skip Baughman Stadium currently stands.
Staff Writer

While the Roughriders play their final home game Saturday night at Skip Baughman Stadium, the facility’s future remains bright.

In recent months, the school district and city have engaged in preliminary discussions regarding the future of the football facility as games shift to the high school/middle school complex for 2019. The goal for both entities is to continue to provide a venue for youth sports as well as a gathering place for community wide events.

“We envision this to be a community gathering grounds where the community can come together as a whole and enjoy the facilities,” Mayor Pat McGowan said. “Having youth fields at this centrally located facility is a benefit to the citizens. Kids can ride or walk to the facility.”

If a deal is reached, it is the city’s intention to continue to use Skip Baughman Stadium and the surrounding ground as a site for youth athletics. The visitor stands would be demolished and a portion of the home stands may be removed depending upon the condition of the structure. The rest of the home stands would be evaluated and may be renovated and brought up to code if feasible.

The city also would keep the home concession stand to serve the fields. Skip Baughman Stadium will remain as the main field and used for regular games. The main field could be split up, resulting in up to four youth fields at the location that could host several practice sessions at one time. The school would retain Cook Gym. The lights also would remain at the facility.

“This set up would give us the most flexibility when it comes to hosting youth athletics,” McGowan said. “This way, we can host a wide array of activities.”

“It’s kind of neat because it will still continue to serve and build generations of Roughrider football players from an even earlier age for years to come,” Superintendent Bill Ruane said. "It will remain an integral part of Roughrider Football Tradition. It gives our youth football programs a home. They will have a place to practice, play games, and host tournaments.”   

The city also has preliminary plans to build an amphitheater on the east end of the site, near the practice football field. This would open up the venue to host a variety of activities throughout the year.

“This facility could be used far more often in the future,” McGowan said. “It really could become a gathering place for the community.”

Having a centrally located group of fields will benefit the youth sports program in the city. Approximately 150 kids play youth football and 180 participated in flag football, currently. Having one location with multiple fields would help with scheduling and be convenient for parents.

The proposal is an example of two local entities working together for the benefit of our community.

“I think it is great that the city and school district can work together for the benefit of our citizens,” McGowan said. “In some places, that is not the case. We routinely work together on issues and in my opinion, that’s how it should be and I hope to continue to work with the school in the future.”