Following years of reported discussion, the Fulton County Fair Board plans to construct a new office building at the fairgrounds by the summer.
The estimated $350,000, 4,400 square-foot building will be located north of the fairgrounds grandstand, where a merchants building previously stood. A projected opening date is July 1, construction-friendly weather permitting.
The cost will be covered by the Fair Board’s capital improvement funds. To help defray that cost, the board has applied for a matching $50,000 grant the state has made available to county fairs. Costs may also be reduced if some construction work can be completed by fair board members and volunteers.
The new one-level, American Disabilities Act-compliant office building will be more spacious, Fair Board President Dennis Wyse said. Half will be used as office space and for ticket sales, the other half as a boardroom several times a year and as a year-round rental property for public and private events. It may also be used during the annual fair.
“We’ve had a lot of calls about rental space,” Wyse said of the fairgrounds. He said the new space will be ideal for events such as bridal showers, baby showers, and graduation parties.
Talk of the building project was begun last summer, and the building was approved by the board just prior to the opening of last year’s Fulton County Fair.
The merchants building the new facility will replace was moved from the site last October and relocated to a spot northeast of the horse arena. Wyse said the plan is to revamp it into horse stalls by the summer. He said renovating the merchants building into horse stalls will save the annual rental cost of a tent used for that purpose during the fair.
“We’re trying to be prudent by using the building we moved,” Wyse said.
The present fair building has become too cramped for its purpose, he said. And Fair Board secretary April Kuckuck’s policy of opening her upstairs office four days per week to make it more public-friendly has increased traffic.
“We just won’t be crawling all over each other,” Wyse said of the new building. “We’re just trying to make it work easier for people.”
He said discussions about a new building reportedly began as long as 10 years ago, but for various reasons the plan was always set aside.
Wyse said a separate, five-year plan is to renovate the fairground’s present Arts and Crafts Building, which needs new roofing, then construct a new Arts and Crafts Building to replace it and turn the the current building into a merchants building.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.