$98K use tax transfer OK’d for Expo Center construction costs

Canadian County Commissioners hope for February groundbreaking on $15.8M first phase

The latest artist rendering of the proposed Canadian County Expo Center at the future site of the “new” county fairgrounds in El Reno. Ground-breaking is anticipated next month. (Image provided)

By Conrad Dudderar

Associate Editor

EL RENO – Canadian County Commissioners are anticipating a ground-breaking soon for the Canadian County Expo Center at the future site of the “new” county fairgrounds.

County commissioners, at their weekly meeting Monday morning, approved “funding request three” by transferring $98,228.50 of county use tax for expenses related to construction of the future expo center and fairgrounds’ facilities.

That covers $94,889.50 for project architect Populous’ services, $3,290 for soil testing and $49 for taxes required at closing on the property purchase.

Lingo Construction is construction manager for the $15.8 million first phase of project; Lingo’s fee is 5 percent. Commissioners are utilizing county use tax revenues to help fund construction and related costs.

Canadian County Commission Chairman Marc Hader

Canadian County Commission Chairman Marc Hader, the District 1 county commissioner, updated the public this week on the new expo center/fairgrounds project.

“We’ve got the funds; it’s just a matter of going through the process,” Chairman Hader said. “Once we start actually moving dirt and the foundation goes up, people will get excited about what is going to be there.

“We hope to schedule a ground-breaking sometime in February.”

The new Canadian County Expo Center and fairgrounds will be built on 50 acres of land at Alfadale and Jensen roads just south of Interstate 40.

Canadian County purchased the El Reno property for $1.25 million last year from the Jensen family. The county has an option to purchase another 50 acres if needed for further development.


Representatives of the architectural/design firm Populous hope to have partial bid documents for a pre-engineered metal building and the earthwork to construction manager Lingo around Jan. 24, according to Chairman Hader.

“This will be in order to get the metal building on the street early as it will take a lot of time to build,” Hader said. “The earthwork is an area where we could start quickly.

“Populous hopes to get the final bid documents for all other aspects of the project to Lingo on or around February 21.”

The first phase of the new fairgrounds project will feature an air-conditioned and heated expo space, an equestrian-sized event arena and stall barn facility.

County commissioners foresee the site as much more than a livestock barn, arena and offices. They envision the expo center will host special events, such as graduations, reunions and concerts.

Chairman Hader is well pleased with the construction manager and architect that county commissioners hired to oversee the expo center/fairgrounds project.

“Lingo is an established, well-respected company that it is a really good pick for this (construction management),” Hader said. “And this is Populous’ bailiwick. They have vast experience with these types of facilities.”

Canadian County officials hope the 67th annual Canadian County Free Fair in August 2021 will be at the new Expo Center and fairgrounds.