By TERRY GROOVER
Canadian County officials are expected to take the next step in the expansion and relocation of the Canadian County Fairgrounds next week when they could hire a company to serve as its construction manager.
The three commissioners — David Anderson, Marc Hader and Jack Stewart — interviewed four prospective management companies Monday afternoon.
Landmark Construction, Timberlake Construction, CMS Willowbrook and Lingo Construction were interviewed as part of a continuation of Monday’s regular business meeting.
The interviews, which originally were to be held in executive session, were held in an open meeting.
Anderson, who serves as chairman of the board, said the commissioners were following the advice of its architects when it set the interviews for private. However, they later learned that the state’s open meetings law prohibited that.
The interviews began at noon and lasted about four hours, Anderson said.
“We’re looking for what is the best for our construction manager,” Anderson said. “That is the decision we want to make, and the only way to that is to interview the companies and make the best decision.”
Anderson said all four companies made impressive presentations and have
Each also set its fee rate. All were between 5 and 6 percent of the construction costs. CMS Willowbrook had the highest rate. That company also handled the construction of the Grady County Fairgrounds in Chickasha.
Anderson said it is likely that a decision on the construction manager could be made at next Monday’s commissioners’ meeting.
This is the next step in what authorities say will be multi-million dollar project to relocate the county’s fairgrounds.
The current facility has been in the same location since the 1950s.
It sits on 14 acres of land and is considered land-locked.
In 2017, after years of discussion, authorities authorized a feasibility study about the possibility of relocating the aging facilities.
The results of the study found that the current site is too small to draw most trade shows. The study said relocating the facilities would be the best option.
Earlier this year, the county completed a deal in which it purchased 50 acres of land near the intersection of Jensen Road and Alfadale Road to be the fairgrounds site.
The county also borrowed $10 million to help with construction costs. That money is to be combined with more than $2.5 million that had previously been set aside in the county’s budget to help fund the first phase of the project.
The first phase is expected to include a large expo arena with concrete floors as well as a second building with stalls. A dirt barn, maintenance building, RV hookups and parking are included as well as a 5,000-square-foot building for the OSU Extension Service.
Anderson has previously said that he expects to break ground on the project by the end of the year with construction being completed in time for the 2021 county fair, which is held each year in September.