SPRINGFIELD, Mo. The last remaining historic wooden building from the World War II era on Evangel’s campus is currently being dismantled
This building was originally built as a gym for O’Reilly general hospital.
The doctors, soldiers or anyone who was stationed here during World War Two came here to play basketball and exercise.
“After the war, then it became public parks property, and Springfield-Greene county parks department used it as a gym, a public facility for years,” said Paul K. Logsdon, director of public relations at Evangel University.
Logsdon said for the past couple of decades, the building was just used as storage.
And after a storm in December last year, part of the roof was torn off, and the building was deemed a hazard.
“Insurance said take it down, clear the land,” Logsdon said.
“I just bought the basketball goal, and we bought some of the floors, they’re going to cut me out something around the free-throw line, like a 3 by 3 square, because we grew up here, we used to play here as kids, said Jim Tannehill, a man who used to play here as a kid.
He shared his memories of the court he had when he was younger, “It was O’Reilly gym back then, it was free, you can just walk in. It as open morning to the evening, and we were here all the time.”
“They grew up literally on the other end of our campus, and would skip school and come over to play basketball,” said Logsdon.
“Real sad. Real sad,” Tannehill said, “well you can’t find a gym to play anymore for one thing. The kids, boys want to go play basketball, you gotta go to the pat jones gym, or the Y, it’s 8 to 12 dollars a day to play basketball. Where are they supposed to play ball at? We used to come here and play all day for free.”
Although the building will come down, Logsdon said most people understand it has to be torn down.
“A good part of his young life was spent here playing ball, but they understand at some point, a building’s got to go,” said Logsdon.
Plus, the extra material won’t go to waste, “a lot of the Amish could come, tear down buildings,” explained Logsdon, “for example, this building. They’re going to take this back, they’re going to build a new farmhouse, they’re going to build a barn, they’re going to build a chicken coop, storage shed, with all the wood that’s coming out of this. Instead of going to the landfill, it’s going to be used again for a family.”
The building is set to be completely taken down by April 19th before the graduation ceremony.
The university currently has no immediate plans to build anything, space will just be grass for now.