Woodward, Okla. —
Woodward County Commissioners learned Monday that with current design plans, the Fairgrounds Improvement Project is estimated to cost a little over $12.4 million.
Of that total estimate, around $8.4 million is expected toward constructing a new multi-purpose arena and office complex; $2.2 million will go toward renovating existing facilities; and the other almost $1.8 million will go toward miscellaneous fees, equipment, and relocation costs.
SURPRISING COST INCREASE
Commissioners said this latest estimate from the project architecture firm Architects in Partnership (AIP) was $2 million more than a $10.4 million projection that was presented to the board in October.
Commission Chair Tommy Roedell said that some of the increase was expected after recent design changes that were requested by both the commissioners and the Woodward County Fair Board.
Original design plans had called for the removal of the center fair barn, to allow for an open area for washing animals for livestock shows, with only a partial roof over 2 walkways. However, after concerns were raised about exposure to the elements, the design was modified to place a roof over the entire area between the 1st and 3rd fair barns.
According to cost breakdowns provided by AIP, the new covered pavilion area between the 2 fair barns resulted in an approximate $300,000 increase in renovation expenses, between an additional $253,000 in roofing costs and $47,000 for concrete.
"Since we added the roof between the 2 barns, we expected that part to go up," Roedell said. "But we don't know why the construction cost for the new facility has gone up so much, especially when we reduced the square footage."
Roedell was referring to how the size of the new multipurpose arena facility was modified to enable the construction of a clear-span exhibition space.
The multipurpose facility was originally designed to encompass 75,000 square feet and allow for an indoor arena measuring 400 feet by 175 feet. But at that width, columns would have been required inside the arena area, thus placing some limits on how the space could be used. So the building was reduced in size to only 140 feet wide, dropping the overall building size to 61,600 square feet, but allowing for the arena area to remain open and unobstructed.
Somehow this change resulted in an $460,000 increase in roofing costs for the multipurpose and office facility.
"I just wonder what changed the cost of the roofing so much?" Roedell said.
He wasn't alone in his concerns over the price jump.
"Like Tommy, I find it hard to believe there is nearly $2 million difference between the new estimate and the old one," District No. 3 Commissioner Vernie Matt said.
However, project architect Heath Hans, a principal architect with AIP, was unable to attend Monday's meeting to answer the commissioners' questions. But Hans is expected to be on hand at the next county commission meeting on Dec. 9 to address their concerns.