County breaks ground on new fairgrounds

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Dirt work has started on the $15.2 million Canadian County Fairgrounds’ project. A late summer 2021 completion is projected. (Image provided)

By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer

EL RENO – An official groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning celebrated the recent start of construction on a new Canadian County Fairgrounds.

Several state legislators joined Canadian County Commissioners, other county officials and fair board members to don hard hats and carry shovels at the construction site.

Participating were District 60 Rep. Rhonda Baker (R-Yukon), District 41 Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader (R-Surrey Hills), District 47 Rep. Brian Hill (R-Mustang), and District 59 Rep. Mike Sanders (R-Kingfisher).

Dirt work got underway several weeks ago on the $15.2 million Canadian County Fairgrounds’ project. The new county fairgrounds’ complex is being built on a 50-acre site at Jensen and Alfadale roads near El Reno.

“The work is progressing very expeditiously,” District 3 Canadian County Commissioner Jack Stewart said. “The construction manager, Lingo, said it may not appear much is being done for the next two to three weeks. That’s because there is a lot of foundation work being done below ground.

“In about a month, results will become very visible as the work goes vertical.”

Canadian County officials and fair board members anticipate the construction project will be finished in time to host the August 2021 county fair. Lingo representatives recently advised that everything is on schedule to meet this deadline.

“I am so excited personally,” Commissioner Stewart said. “It’s going to be the gold standard for the county – it will be that good a facility. It’s going to make our county residents proud to be part of Canadian County. It’s going to be that nice; it’s going to be showpiece.”

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PROJECT FUNDING

The maximum guaranteed price is $14,257,674 for the fairgrounds’ expo center arena, maintenance building, site work, and parking.

Maximum guaranteed price is $984,458 for the stall barn.

Lingo Construction is overseeing several dozen subcontractors that will build the new arena, stall barn and other buildings.

Bids for 31 construction trade packages were awarded on May 18, with the total cost about $900,000 below a December 2019 cost estimate of $16.1 million.

The Canadian County Fairgrounds’ project is being funded through county use tax collections. Use tax is a tax on goods purchased in another state for use in the taxing state, in lieu of local sales tax.

Canadian County’s monthly use tax disbursements have ranged between $109,177 to $166,738 over the past eight months.

“What we’ve tried to do is never get in a position where it would take more than 60% of what we expect to receive (from the use tax) to debt service the fairgrounds,” District 2 County Commissioner David Anderson said.

Debt service on the new, fully built county fairgrounds will be about $900,000 annually, according to Anderson.

“As long as we’re receiving over about $80,000 a month, we’ll be able to debt service,” he said.