Fairgrounds arena near completion

Alisa Boswell

The new arena building at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds is set to be finished by June 20, giving Roosevelt County a much larger space to hold agricultural and rodeo events.

According to Roosevelt County Manager Charlene Hardin, the project was initially estimated to cost $4 million when the county was going to build the facility from scratch. But after finding a building for free, it is now a $1 million project.

“We had had another architect start working on some preliminary design plans for this,” Hardin said. “ENMU’s rodeo coach had heard about the building and knew we were looking for something like it, so he told us we might want to check into it.”

The building was donated to Roosevelt County by Four Corners Materials of Bayfield, Colo. The only expense for the county was retrieving the building, transportation to New Mexico and reconstruction.

Hardin said the county paid for the project by taking out a $1 million loan from New Mexico Finance Authority, which the county will pay back over a 25-year period.

“It took quite some time having to go through the process of having it donated,” Hardin said. “That took the longest, just going through that whole process of paperwork.”

The commission approved using the donated building for their new facility in November 2009 and after more than a year-long process of paperwork, reconstruction began in January.

A construction management firm, Basic IDIQ of Albuquerque, headed the project, adding 13,750 square feet to the 42,000 square foot building, making it a total 55,000 square feet.

Basic IDIQ Project Manager Kyle Cooper said with the exception of wind interference, the project has gone smoothly with few problems and delays.

“It’s gone up pretty fast. As long as there are no major problems, everything should be up by the end of June,” Cooper said.

Cooper said his understanding is the building will be used for animals and as an arena for events such as the Ag Expo.

Hardin said the name of the building has yet to be determined.

Russ Howell, the project manager for Rod Bowers Construction of Amarillo, said his company is the subcontractor for the project and was responsible for transporting and reconstructing the building and additional construction work.

Howell said adverse weather conditions kept workers from working on the building on several different days, causing the deadline for the building to be finished to move from June 10 to June 20.

“When you’re up there 20 feet or so in the air with roof panels that are 20 plus feet in length, it gets interesting with the high winds that were over there,” Howell said. “Some days we tried to push through but some days, you’ve got to put safety as your top priority.”