Rogers County Partners with RSU in Sporting Complex Parking Lot Project

Rogers State University, in partnership with Rogers County, recently expanded the parking lot near the Diamond Sports Complex, which includes the Hillcat softball and baseball fields.

In an interlocal agreement approved with Rogers County, the county agreed to assist the university with the project by providing trucks and hauling gravel at no cost to RSU.

Last year, RSU Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Chris Ratcliff reached out to Rogers County Commissioner Steve Hendrix to request assistance with the building of a new parking lot for the university’s baseball and softball facilities on the northwest corner of campus. In 2022, the RSU softball team won the NCAA Division II national championship, garnering increased interest in the program and increasing the need for parking near the softball field.

“We knew it was going to be a big project – for which, we were going to need a lot of funds,”
Ratcliff said. “(RSU President) Dr. (Larry) Rice had a relationship with Grand Gateway, so (Vice
President for Development) Steve Valencia wrote and submitted a grant request to them, which was later approved for $100,000, and allowed us to move forward with the dirt work on the parking lot project.”

Following this, Commissioner Hendrix presented his proposition to fellow county commissioners at the Dec. 11, 2023, meeting – a proposal which was unanimously passed and allowed the university the use of the county’s equipment and expertise to transport and spread the gravel base for the construction of the new parking lot.

Through the agreement, resources from all three districts were leveraged to haul gravel to the
campus for the project. This collaborative effort will not only expedite the process but ensure that the parking lot is completed in a timely manner.

Work got underway just before Christmas, Ratcliff said, with the county hauling more than 150
truckloads of gravel from Oologah to Claremore, which took nearly three days to complete.

The aggregated crushed rock forms the new parking lot surface, with the project effectively
doubling the amount of parking space previously available. Once the weather permits, the lot will be marked to help motorists park their vehicles more efficiently. Paving may occur later.

“We’re very thankful for everyone who made this possible – of course, the commissioners, Dr. Rice, and Steve Valencia,” he said. “Our partnership with the county has always been a good one and our partnership on this project epitomizes that.

“Through tournaments, games, camps, etc., the expansion of the baseball and softball field’s
parking lot was a great investment for them, benefiting the university, the city and the county,” he said.

Of the partnership, District 3 Commissioner Ron Burrows said the county commissioners welcomed the opportunity to work with RSU.

“Interlocal agreements with municipalities and educational facilities signify a strong partnership between them and the county, demonstrating our shared commitment to enhance the overall experience for everyone,” Commissioner Burrows said. “By pooling our resources, we efficiently address challenges faced by not just our educational system, but our municipalities as well. This interlocal agreement exemplifies our commitment to supporting the university and to enhancing the overall experience for all visitors.”

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