By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
EL RENO – With ground-breaking planned this fall on a new Canadian County Fairgrounds facility, county commissioners were unanimous this week in their selection of a construction manager to oversee the project.
Commissioners voted 3-0 to choose Lingo Construction over three other companies that were recently interviewed for the position. The action was taken at Monday morning’s Canadian County Commissioners / Public Facilities Authority meeting.
“Overall, I think Lingo is the best firm for us to go with,” County Commission Chairman Dave Anderson said. “I could tell they invested some significant time to become familiar with our project.
“They also came with suggestions about potential ways to deal with what will be a budget challenge … to construct as much as we can with a limited amount of money.”
Lingo builds projects using only the construction manager delivery method, Anderson noted.
Canadian County paid $1.25 million to acquire 50 acres of land at the corner of Alfadale and Jensen Road just south of Interstate 40 in El Reno to build the new fairgrounds. The county has an option to purchase another 50 acres if needed for further development.
Commissioners estimate the first phase of the project will cost up to $14 million and take 14 to 16 months to complete.
Commissioners hired Lingo Construction over three other companies, Landmark Construction, Timberlake Construction and CMS Willowbrook.
“We interviewed four firms that I thought were all outstanding,” Chairman Anderson said. “I feel all of them could do a great job with our project. I was grateful that all four seemed to be familiar, to some degree, with our project. They came ready to try to win our business and I appreciate that.”
Lingo Construction owner Stan Lingo, who attended Monday morning’s meeting, said his company’s construction management fee is 5 percent.
Chairman Anderson was impressed with Lingo’s involvement throughout the interview and selection process.
Lingo is a “large enough” company to dedicate resources and staff to this project and has adequate knowledge of sub-contractors in the area, he added.
‘WELL SUITED’ FOR THE JOB
District 1 County Commissioner Marc Hader said Canadian County would have been well served by any of the four companies that applied for the construction manager job.
But Lingo stood above the rest.
“Stan’s group is well suited; a good-sized company for us,” Hader said. “They’ve got an excellent reputation for the work they’ve done in other places.”
The District 1 commissioner said Lingo’s team was the “most prepared”, had done the “most homework” and had the “most complete” presentation during the July 15 interviews.
“I got to believe Stan will take a little personal pride in this ‘hometown’ project,” Hader said of the Canadian County resident.
District 3 County Commissioner Jack Stewart agreed that commissioners were impressed with all four construction management firms who made proposals.
Stewart referred to the post-interview input from the architectural design firm Populous, which is working with county officials on this fairgrounds project. Populous representatives cited many construction projects that Lingo Construction oversees in downtown Oklahoma City, saying the company’s reputation is impeccable.
“They were the only ones that were absolutely totally prepared to take this job on in every sense of the way,” Stewart said of Lingo. “Stan not only came in, but he brought his entire staff with him that would work on this (project).
“Stan brought the whole crew. We got to talk to all of them. He took the leadership role as the owner, but they got to have a lot of good input.”
Nathan Smith, the county’s new fair director and marketing manager, also had a “meet and greet” with all four firms and made his recommendation to commissioners in a detailed summary.
“I think you guys are ‘hitting the nail on the head’ with Lingo,” Smith told commissioners.
Smith believes all four companies could get the job done.
“All of those companies have characteristics that they excel in uniquely – whether that be resources available, whether that be price or whether that be their presentation and ability to articulate their understanding of the work site or the process, in and of itself,” he said.
Chairman Anderson thanked Smith for his valuable input.
Commissioner Hader told Lingo that Smith would be the “main point person” for Canadian County on this project.
LOOKING TO 2021
Chairman Anderson said the goal is for the 67th annual Canadian County Free Fair in August 2021 to be at the new and improved fairgrounds facility.
The future Canadian County Fairgrounds will feature an expo center, livestock arena, barn, and offices. Design plans are still being finalized.
Commissioners and Smith believe larger, modern facilities will allow Canadian County to host more special events besides annual county fairs and livestock competitions.
Commissioner Stewart believes the new fairgrounds’ complex will attract people from outside Canadian County to spend money here.
“We will be able to have by a wide range of events – from car shows, gun shows, concerts, dances, graduations, horse shows, just to name some,” Stewart said. “The possibilities are almost endless. It definitely will not be limited to agriculture, although that will be a key component.”
Stewart, of Yukon, believes the new county fairgrounds’ facilities will be a great gathering place that make a “better neighborhood” for everybody.
The 65th Annual Canadian County Free Fair will be Aug. 21-24 at the current county fairgrounds, 220 N Country Club Road in El Reno.
As he looks to the future, County Fair Director Smith said he’s working to increase attendance and participation at this year’s fair.