By Allyson Dix, Managing Editor
It has been 391 days since the community-beloved John E. Richardson Stadium was destroyed by fire leaving remnants of days gone by in a pile of rubble. The fire was determined to be electrical in nature.
Today, the field itself appears to be in great condition and well-maintained. But standing on the outside, the “Home of the Scotties” appears to be in a state of urban decay.
A place that has housed much pride for decades now stands in a desolate and dilapidated condition.
Despite this, the Glasgow Scotties have been able to continue playing this past season after the City of Glasgow made efforts to get the field game-ready. That included mostly the electrical panel, wiring, and lighting. A small set of bleachers were put behind the outfield due to the potential for hazards such as foul balls around the field.
The stadium is owned by the City of Glasgow but is the location that Glasgow High School has played baseball for decades.
Glasgow Mayor Henry Royse hadn’t been elected yet when the fire destroyed the stadium but he felt the pressure once in office to get the repairs done so the games could carry on.
“We have all the pieces in place to move forward,” Royse recently told the Barren County Progress referring to rebuilding the stadium.
Royse said the stadium was insured at the cost that it would require to build it back as is, a negotiation between the city and the insurance company before he was elected. The money that the city spent to repair the field thus far was from that insurance money. Whatever monies the city has used to repair won’t go to waste as Royse said those components will still be usable and functional when the stadium is rebuilt.
“We’ve still got money from the insurance to utilize but with the cost increases, we are uncertain what the construction might be.”
Royse said an architect has been hired who has constructed drawings and plans for rebuilding the city; however, the city has went without a Superintendent for the Department of Public Works since January and Royse said the person in that role will be what it takes to get the project rolling.
Royse fired former DPW Superintendent Roger Simmons for reasons that haven’t been officially revealed but a new one, Jim McGowan, was appointed in the July 24 city council meeting.
“It’s not just the stadium but so many other things in this city that requires someone at that level,” Royse said of McGowan, an engineer who worked with American Engineers in Glasgow.
“We have good people who work for the city doing the very best that they can but to have the stadium built with the guidance of our recreation department, that’s not the way it works,” Royse explained, “[McGowan] is the guy who can look at the drawings, send them back to the architect, look at bids for materials and such.”
Royse said the cost would be twice as expensive without a person with the engineering expertise McGowan has.
Speaking of cost, Royse said it’s too early in the game to consider what the cost of rebuilding the stadium might be. He elaborated on the former monstrous wooden stadium that has been in Gorin Park since around 1950 and the lack of ADA-compliant components the structure suffered from.
He shared concern about what a cost to rebuild the stadium might look like and explained how the recently constructed bathrooms around the city this year were doubled after the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Before Covid, they bid the bathrooms and they were between $60,000 and $70,000,” Royse said, “They wind up costing $137,000.” So nearly double the cost for just each of the bathrooms may shed some insight into what reconstructing Richardson Stadium might look like.
A lot of that had to do with the struggle many across the nation dealt with amid the pandemic, difficulty with getting materials and such, and even post-pandemic, the costs are still elevated for materials and supplies. The mayor is hopeful that as time goes by the construction costs reduce.
“To give you a prototype, it’s too early,” Royse said. He is, however, excited that the new DPW Superintendent can take the reigns on the project.
The City and Glasgow Independent Schools (GIS) have been working together to perfect the language in a lease agreement between the two entities to ensure the roles are laid out and who is responsible for what. The lease will require approval from the Kentucky Department of Education.
“We are grateful for the partnership/relationship with the city that we have had for the past several decades and hope to strengthen that relationship moving forward for the overall good of the city and the district,” GIS Superintendent Chad Muhlenkamp told the Progress.
Will Richardson Stadium resemble it’s old and glorious stature? That remains to be seen; however, the mayor did share it wouldn’t be practical to build it identical to the old structure especially with the steep steps and other non-ADA-complaint matters plus the cost of lumber has increased significantly.
“You really had to be of sound mind to come down those steps,” Royse said. But despite all of that, the mayor said he is unaware of anyone ever requesting to bring the stadium to ADA standards.
“It’s going to be better for the school, the city, and the public, but it won’t mimic what was there despite the nostalgia,” Royse said, “It just wouldn’t be practical to build it back just for old times sake.”
The stadium has always been kept to code despite it’s age and the mayor said he’s hopeful for some historical tie representing the history of days gone by.