Cardinal Stadium is the crown jewel of high school football stadiums in southwest Missouri. Cardinal Stadium can seat over 5000 fans, with nearly 4000 crazed Cardinal fans on the “home” side of the stadium located on the west side of the venue. Over 1000 visiting fans can enjoy the game from the east side of the field. Visitors enjoy their own restrooms and full concessions on the east side. Webb City plays on an all-weather synthetic surface. Cardinal Stadium is also outfitted with a state of the art video board.
It is not completely clear where Webb City played their games when they began playing football in the early 1900's. In 1930 A.D. Hatten deeded a piece of land on north Madison for the construction of an athletic field. With the aid of two separate WPA projects the field was surrounded by an 8' tall rock wall and steel bleachers integrated into the stone work to seat about 1000. The venue, shown from above to the left, came to be know as Hatten Athletic Field. The two images below show scenes from game day at Hatten Field from the book Pictorial History of Webb City, Carterville, & Oronogo - Volume II. The right depicts early in the 1930's as the wall is not yet been errected. The left shows the large crowd supporting the Cardinals nearly eighty years ago.
As seen in the images below, Cardinal athletics have always been well supported. When the Alba, Oronogo, and Carterville school districts joined the Webb City school district by the end of the 1960's not only were the classrooms at capacity, so were football games. The Webb City school district deemed in necessary to build a new high school as they had outgrown the facility on Broadway. Phase one of the construction in 1969 included building a new athletic field among other projects. The construction was needed as Hatten Athletic Field was scheduled for demolition as the new high school would sit where Hatten was. Hatten Athelitic Field served Webb City athletics for nearly four decades but was replaced in 1969 with Cardinal Stadium.
Cardinal Stadium was much larger than Hatten Field and was adequate for its time but not nearly the size of the present day Cardinal Stadium. An estimated 1500-2000 fans could fit into the cinder block and concrete grandstand shown in the image to the left. Restroom and concessions were tucked under the grandstands and accessible from the rear. A set of steel bleachers seating less than 1000 were provide on the east side of the field for visiting fans with no other amenities. The first game played at Cardinal Stadium was againsts MacDonald County on September 12, 1969. The Cardinals and Mustangs played to a 6-6 tie.
Not much about the stadium changed from its construction in 1969, through the 1980's but as crowds grew the stadium would have to be expanded. The image above is a photo of Cardinal Stadium in the early 2000's. Little had changed between it and the image above with the exception of a few state championship signs. Not shown is expanded seating on each side of the grandstand.
After winning their first ever state title in 1989 crowds began to swell. In the early 1990's a section of aluminum bleachers were installed on the south end of the grandstand. The new bleachers held an estimated 500 addition Cardinal fans. Concessions and restrooms were also added to the Visitors section on the east. By the end of the decade another set of bleachers, identical to the bleachers on the south end were added to the north of the grandstand.
Prior to the 2008 season Cardinal Stadium underwent an unprecedented upgrade. The aluminum bleachers flanking the grandstand were removed from the positions and moved to the east side to bolster seating for visiting fans. The grandstand was leveled and the bermuda grass field was removed. A new drainage system was installed then covered by a new all-weather synthetic playing surface. New steel bleachers you see today replaced the old grandstand. A new concession and rest room facility was built on the north end of the venue to accommodate the Webb City faithful.
Fans are not the only ones that enjoy the expanded area. The press box / coaches boxes are nearly triple the size of the old press box area. Game day staff and working media enjoy spacious and comfortable areas to work. To each side of the main press box is separate space for each teams coaches and radio production.
2014 Cardinal Stadium saw more major upgrades. A video board was installed in the south end of the venue. The 32' x 20' structure stands atop the band bleachers. The actual video screen portion measures 26' x 16'. Multiple cameras on the Cardinals sideline and in the press box provide patrons a wide array of video of live game action from different vantage points and reaction from fans. All cameras and live production is done by WCHS students. The video board enables Cardinal fans to enjoy video advertisements as well as many prerecorded student produced features.
New in 2015 is new spacious locker room facilities. Webb City and their opponents will now prepare for contests in locker rooms in the newly constructed Cardinal Dome. The Cardinals locker room is outfitted with 100 solid oak lockers. The expanded space also allows for offensive and defensive coaches offices, a conference room, and film study room.
Photo credits: Pictorial History of Webb City, Carterville, & Oronogo- Volume II 2008. 1974 King Jack
Images of current stadium, video board, & locker room taken by webbcityfootball.com