Local Group Looking To Repair Ron Stephens Stadium
A local community group is looking to bring together local businesses, schools and residents to effect repairs at legendary Ron Stephens Stadium in Lawton. Representatives from local community development groups announced their plans Friday to restore the stadium, including repairing damage to a wall, as part of an informal effort to restore historical sites throughout Lawton.
Members of the Lawton Economic Development Authority met with the Lawton School District, who are owners of Ron Stephens Stadium, and gained permission for their restoration plans. Now the Development Authority is to involve local businesses and resident in putting their plans into action.
Last summer, engineering firms were brought in to complete an assessment of the building. Based on the final report, the estimated cost of $250,000 to complete LEDA's plans. LEDA has decided to provide a funding mechanism for the project, and officials say they are ready to start accepting bids.
One of the major parts of the project will be the rebuilding of a wall on the stadium's southern face. Portions of the wall came down approximately 10 years ago due to swelling and shifting of the soil surrounding and beneath it. The main goal of the project is to have the building returned to its original state, so it can be declared and preserved as a historical structure.
Even though the stadium is still used for sporting events, repairs couldn't be undertook due to budgetary constraints of the public school district. Roosevelt Stadium, as it was originally known, was completed in 1936 as part of President Franklin Roosevelt's Works Project Administration, a public work project created to put Americans to work after the Great Depression. It was later renamed Ron Stephens Stadium, after the state director for the WPA at the time of construction, who considered the stadium a pet project. Many believe the project would have never been completed without Stephens' support.
If you would like to assist in the repairs of the historic stadium, donations can be made through the Lawton Enhancement Trust Authority.