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Officials name company to lead fairgrounds complex project

An Oklahoma City-based construction management company whose owner lives near El Reno has been selected to oversee the construction of the new Canadian County fairgrounds complex.
The Canadian County commissioners serving as both commissioners and the board of the Public Facilities Authority, voted unanimously to select Lingo Construction to handle the $12 million project.
Lingo, owned by Stan Lingo, will charge 5 percent of the project’s costs to manage the site. The company was one of four that offered proposal for the project, which will relocate the fairgrounds complex from near Country Club Road in El Reno to property just to the southeast of El Reno.
The commissioners said that while all four companies made very good presentations, the proposal by Lingo stood out.
“This reminds me of hiring employees when you have outstanding applicants. It is really hard to do. We’ve got to make a decision,” Commissioner David Anderson said. “I felt like all four of them could do a great job with our project.”
Anderson said the companies all did their homework and came to the interviews prepared to try and win the county’s business.
For Anderson, two companies stood out — Lingo and Timberlake Construction.
“Overall, I felt Lingo is the best firm for us to go with,” he said.
Anderson’s reasoning included that the company had spent significant time preparing for its presentation and researching the county’s needs.
“They also came with suggestions of potential ways to deal with what will be a budget challenge. Ultimately, we are going to be challenged to build as much as we can with a limited amount of money,” Anderson said.
The chairman said his overall impression was that the company is big enough to dedicate staff to the project, but not so big that the fairgrounds would be “just another project site.”
Commissioners Marc Hader and Jack Stewart agreed.
“I think Stan’s group is well suited for us. They have an excellent reputation for the work they have done. I think Stan’s group came the most prepared,” Hader said.
Hader said because Lingo lives in the area, he will likely take more pride in the project.
“I got to believe that Stan will take a little personal pride in this kind of hometown project,” he said.
Stewart agreed.
“When you are doing something like this, everything is a subjective call, and that makes it a little tougher. The fact that you are not just taking a low bid. … Anyone of the four could have done it, so you have to make a subjective call and ranking the best you can,” he said.
Stewart said that Lingo also was the recommendation of the architectural firm.
The new fairground complex will be built on 50 acres of land located just east of the El Reno city limits at the intersection of Jensen Road and Alfadale Road. It is just east of U.S. 81 and south of Interstate 40.
The county purchased the property earlier this year from the Jensen family with the option of purchasing an additional 50 acres in the future.
The facility will replace the current fairgrounds, which have been on the same property since the mid-1950s.
That location, which is about 14 acres, is land-locked and considered too small for the fairgrounds to expand enough to offer the types of events that draw crowds.
A feasibility study, conducted in 2017, encouraged the county to find a new site.
Anderson said officials hope to break ground on the project this fall with the first phase being completed in time for the 2021 free fair.
“For the 10 years I’ve been here, we’ve been talking about it,” Anderson said. “… It is exciting to be at the threshold of construction. It should be within a few months where we are breaking ground.”
“We’re to the point where we will see the results of the work that we’ve put in. I am excited to be at this point.”31          

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