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March 11, 2014

County to seek bids for fairgrounds expansion project

DUNCAN — Expansion of the Stephens County Fair & Expo Center  may get underway as early as this summer.

The Stephens County commissioners, joined by fairgrounds director Mike Anderson, discussed the expansion project during their meeting Monday. The commissioners approved going out for bids to see how much it would cost to build another building the same size as the Expo Arena  and to relocate the South Stall Barn south to the outdoor stalls.

“I don’t know what we can afford to build,” said Dee Bowen, District 3 commissioner and board chairman.

 The Expo Arena encompasses 89,600 square feet while the South Stall Barn has 215 horse stalls and a covered area that will accommodate 72 horse stalls.

Expansion of the fairgrounds has been under discussion since Jan. 6, when Anderson asked for help to make room for events that have continued to grow. Those events, including the Rising Stars Calf Roping, have outgrown the available space at the fairgrounds, making it difficult to keep up with the demand for more livestock stalls.

Rising Stars is the second-largest event for the fairgrounds, after the National Swine Registry Fall Classic in November. Rising Stars has requested an additional 100 to 150 stalls for its event this year.

Anderson said the slowest time for the Fair & Expo Center is summer, which the commissioners agreed would make it the best time to begin construction.

Anderson said it is important to have part of the project completed by November because of big events scheduled that month.

In other action:

* The commissioners took no action to declare an outdoor burn ban. The county has been without a burn ban since Feb. 3, when commissioners decided there was no reason to have a ban in place.

The agenda item will carry over to the next meeting, which Bowen said is “just in case.”

* The board approved changing some wording in the permit application for pipeline crossings. The changes will go into effect March 24.

The change will require any any pipeline installed beneath a roadway to be encased. Darrell Sparks, District 1 commissioner, said this change will ensure safety.

“If they put the casing on there, it should be alright,” Sparks said. “It will give that much more protection.”

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