RPA Closes Loans To Financially Secure Stadium

Sports Editor

Despite a setback, the finances are in place for the new athletic complex.

Officially closing on their $2 million loan from both Superior Credit Union and Minster Bank on Wednesday, the Roughriders Philanthropic Association (RPA) — the non-profit organization raising money for the new football stadium at St. Marys Memorial High School — has the money to finally begin construction of the new stadium.

“It really gives the program a shot in the arm with the financing behind us now,” RPA Secretary Treasurer Dan Burke said. “Without them, we would not be here today and we would still be kicking that can down the road in trying to raise funds and needing a few more years to even start anything.”

The RPA has a little more than $2 million with more than 200 gifts, donations and pledges in hand as it gears toward the $3 million goal, but it needed a financial loan from a bank or two to begin construction and eventually pay that loan down over time.

“Donations keep coming in and I know there is a lot of interest out there,” Burke said. “I think with the activity that is going to start out [at the stadium], there will be more donations.”

The athletic complex — which will be named MHS Alumni Field when completed — will house the Roughriders football team for home games, away from their current home at Skip Baughman Stadium on South Street — the home of the Roughriders since at least 1923.

Members from Minster Bank, Superior Credit Union and the St. Marys Community Foundation each commented on the loan closing.

“Minster Bank and Superior Credit Union saw the value in this community wide endeavor,” Mike Makley, executive director of the St. Marys Community Foundation said in a press release. “They are very active in our community and recognized the importance of finishing the stadium at Memorial High School.”

“For more than 30, years Minster Bank has proudly served the St. Marys Community and we appreciate the opportunity to ‘join forces’ with Superior Credit Union and the RPA to assist in the completion of this project,” Ken Goettemoeller, Minster Bank senior commercial loan officer said. “This is the definition of collaboration, a great cause that we could come together on and make a difference.”

“We jumped at the chance to help fund the completion of the Memorial High School sports complex because it is the right project for the community,” Phil Schumann, financial services officer of Superior Credit Union — St. Marys branch, added.

Now, with the money secured, the completion of the stadium — an eight-year endeavor since the high school was built — can commence.

The new stadium will have a seating capacity of 4,500 — 1,500 more than what is at Skip Baughman — with 700 to 750 parking spaces. Along with the turf field already in place and a 10-lane track, there will be a band storage building, new concessions, team apparel retail store, new walking path from Memorial High School to the stadium, press box, scoreboard, a memorial of Skip Baughman — the longtime Roughriders coach who spent 36 years on the sideline, won 272 games and garnered the program’s only three state titles — additional parking spaces, lighting and a field house for the future.

The RPA is also working on an agreement with the City of St. Marys for lighting, the scoreboard/video board is being discussed and final design is in the works for the restroom, concession and entrance area.

For the full story, see Thursday's print edition of The Evening Leader.