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Knoxville residents worry for future of Ken Locke Stadium

The Knoxville Community School District says they are still planning to use the stadium for the upcoming fall season.

KNOXVILLE, Iowa — Knoxville's Ken Locke Stadium debuted in 1938. The historic site has been beloved by generations of local football fans, but now, some are worried the home of the Panthers might be going away.

If there is one thing Graham Fee knows, it's Knoxville football. He's spent most of his life in the town, and Ken Locke is basically a second home. He played on its gridiron in high school and later in life called games for the Panthers.

"You're dealing with something much more important than a football stadium. It is a building that reflects our history. It is a building that has put Knoxville on the map in many, many ways," Fee said.

But he's worried for the future of the stadium. 

The Knoxville school district's facilities committee recently began planning for future expenses. After locals helped raise the money needed to refurbish the iconic site through the "Save Our Stadium" campaign, Fee doesn't want to see their efforts go to waste if the district does not keep up with the improvements.

"This was built as a historical memorial to be protected. And we're supposed to be the stewards of it. Our town is supposed to be the stewards of keeping this alive," Fee said.

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The school district says there is no need to worry. 

In a statement to Local 5, Knoxville Community School District Superintendent Cassi Pearson said they still plan on bringing players back to Ken Locke Stadium this fall, and if there were plans in the works to change that, the public would know.

She said:

"The district facilities committee has a continual process for identifying future projects and funding streams that include all district-owned facilities. This committee presents recommendations to the school board ... Recommendations are listed on the board agenda prior to the board taking any action."

The stadium's history is known outside Knoxville: Ken Locke Stadium is a landmark recognized by the State of Iowa Historical Society and the National Historic Registry.

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