August 14, 2019

New fairgrounds could cost county $84 million

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

It may have been a case of sticker shock for the McKenzie County commissioners as they learned on Aug. 6, that building a new fairgrounds on a site southwest of Watford City would cost upward of $84 million.
According to Heidi Brenna of ICON architects, that price would best be described as the dreaming phase.
“As a result of our user group meetings, we came up with the cost of everything that everyone wanted to see at the new fairgrounds,” stated Brenna.
Among the items that those user groups indicated that they wanted was a 30,500 square foot exhibit hall, a 90,000 square foot multi-purpose arena, an outdoor rodeo arena, a large midway for the carnival, bathrooms and large parking lots.
“There are a lot of small spaces currently spread out over the existing fairgrounds,” stated Brenna. “We are combining those spaces in the new fairgrounds.”
While the commissioners did not voice many concerns about the overall project, it was the estimated $10 million that would be spent in soil removal and replacement to make the area that is being explored as the new fairgrounds site work that definitely raised concerns.
“That area is not a good location,” stated Commissioner Howdy Lawlar. “There are better places where you can spend that $10 million and put it into the buildings.”

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