A nonprofit foundation wants to revitalize Blankenship Field and Jack Armstrong stadium and create a world-class gathering place that can accommodate more than 20,000 people in a natural amphitheater for sporting and other events, organizers said.
The Blankenship Field Revitalization Foundation has been formed by private residents, and it is led by Tennessee Senator Randy McNally, an Oak Ridge Republican. Organizers said the foundation is coordinating the revitalization project and fundraising activities in cooperation with the City of Oak Ridge and Oak Ridge Schools.
“In revitalizing Blankenship Field, we hope to honor the historic founders of Oak Ridge, a community dedicated to world-class education, scientific discovery, and a high quality of life,” organizers said.
They hope to make the revitalization a vital part of the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park, connecting Jackson Square and the original site of Oak Ridge High School. The new Manhattan Project park includes Oak Ridge; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Hanford, Washington. The Manhattan Project was a top-secret federal program to create the world’s first atomic weapons during World War II.
“For over 70 years, Blankenship Field has not only been the home of Oak Ridge High School Wildcat football team, it has been an important gathering place for the city that brought the world into the atomic age,” organizers said. “Seventy-plus years of wear are now showing, and it is time to restore and maintain this critically important Oak Ridge landmark.”
The cost of the proposed project was not immediately available Monday afternoon, but it is split into two phases:
- Main Entrance—ticket booth at field level with plaques honoring Oak Ridge and Wildcat historical events and people
- Front Parking Lot and Lighting—with walkway from main entrance to Jackson Square
- Large LED Scoreboard—with video and media options
- Installation of Turf Field—featuring wrought iron fencing and decorative brick columns and donor recognition wall
- Visitor’s Side Concessions and Restrooms
- Advanced Energy-Efficient Lighting and Communications
- Home Side Stadium Building—with expanded locker rooms, press box, skyboxes, and club seating
Funding sources are proposed to include:
- 60 percent public contributions,
- 20 percent grants,
- 10 percent city and school participation, and
- 10 percent grant of in-kind services.
Organizers said the Blankenship Field Revitalization Project will be completed in conjuction with the Jackson Square Revitalization Project ($1 million) and the recent completion of the Guest House renovation ($5 million).
Contributions are tax deductible.
For more information, call Oak Ridge High School Athletic Director Mike Mullins at (865) 425-9603 or send him an email at [email protected]. You can also visit the Foundation’s website at blankenshiplegacy.org.
Foundation board members include:
- David Beck
- Mike Mullins
- David Bradshaw
- James T. Normand
- Richard G. Chinn Jr.
- Gregory S. Palmer
- Christopher J. Corwin
- Phil Parrett
- Pete Craven
- Jack Pope
- Scott Underwood
- James C. Powers
- Lawrence A. Hahn
- Jill Prudden
- Len M. Hart
- Nat Revis
- Jim Helton
- Wayne Roquemore
- Randy McNally
- John Smith