New Stadium Making Progress, But Funds Still Needed

Sports Editor

Not since the stadium lights were installed in October has there been an update regarding the Roughrider Athletic Complex, until Tuesday.

Stepping in for Roughriders Philanthropic Association (RPA) Secretary Treasurer Dan Burke, RPA member Zach Ferrall filled Kiwanians in with an update on the $3 million project during Kiwanis’ weekly meeting.

The lights were installed by Qualite Sports Lighting in October and the two buildings on the north side of the stadium have been up and the building on the home side has siding on it. Ferrall said the 3,500-seat stands from Sightlines Athletic Facilities has been ordered and is currently in a warehouse in Louisville, Kentucky.

Ferrall said once the stands arrive, it is only a 16-day process to put them up. 

With headway being made over the months as the spring sports season is a little more than a month away, the RPA is still seeking funding.

Of the $3 million RPA goal to fund the stadium, the organization is at 68 percent — or $2,040 million — with 256 total pledges in donations — 195 of those pledges being of the 500 Club or higher.

The 500 Club is a five-year, $3,000 commitment pledge that the RPA has been touted out as a way for families or individuals to donate if they so choose. The donation cane be paid $50 monthly, $600 annually or $1,000 for three years.

With the RPA still needing to make up ground financially, Ferrall said the parking lots will not be asphalted this season and the walking path through the wooded area will have to wait as well. A fieldhouse that will hold the Roughriders’ locker room is still planned, but has been a future project because of its $1 million price tag.

“There are necessities and there are wants,” Ferrall said. “From the beginning, that was going to be a want — to have a completed paved parking lot. We can definitely function with a stoned parking lot out there.

“We have a lot of it going and we have 195 500 Club members, so if we got another 300, we are looking at another million dollars right there.”

As part of its fundraising efforts, the RPA worked with Matt Hughes of Cincinnati based firm, JMH Development. Hughes, Ferrall said, was under a 1-year contract that has not been renewed.

“Frankly, he has done a great job for us, but he does cost money to have as a fundraiser so we think we have a good enough base that we can continue what he started,” he added.

Ferrall, however, did say that the RPA has brought in Denny Vogel — who has volunteered to take on large donations as the group’s main fundraiser.

“I am confident that in the next few months, I think he can bring in around 4 to $500,000,” Ferrall added.

The RPA does have a $2 million line of credit from Superior Federal Credit Union and Minster Bank that was completed June 13. Ferrall said there is no collateral.

During the Q&A portion of Ferrall’s speech, he was asked if St. Marys will host the Western Buckeye League Track & Field Championships in mid-May and Ferrall confirmed that the school still will despite work still needing to be done. The Roughriders football team will open their season at the new facility after spending decades playing at Skip Baughman Stadium.

To read the full story, see Wednesday's print edition of The Evening Leader.