Fairgrounds Fire Hall rental agreement approved, focus groups review Bison building plan

The Kansas State Fair Board on Tuesday approved actions related to two buildings on the state’s fairgrounds and referred to ongoing plans for two more.

The board, in a nearly three-hour meeting, also received reports on the success of the 2021 Fair, acted to disqualify a cattle exhibitor from the 2021 competition for violating a drug use rule and approved the drafting of new contracts for the Carnival, Skyride and Wildlife Department hut.

On the last point, fair management is interested in terminating the contract or taking over the cabin because it costs fair money.

Fire station

The council’s first action was to approve a 99-year, $ 1 per year agreement with the Hutchinson Fire Department to lease 1,569 acres of land at the northwest corner of the fairgrounds near the 23rd Avenue and Main Street, for a new fire station.

A board construction subcommittee earlier Tuesday toured the properties and discussed the eventual demolition plan for the existing station at the southwest corner of the land, board members said, although none of these details are in the rental agreement. .

Hutchinson Fire Chief Steven Beer also noted that during the 10 days of the fair, the fire department will not use its planned circular route which allows trucks returning to the station to drive. from the back, but they will return to the station at the exit of the main street, as they do now.

No further details on the installation or construction schedule were discussed, although the beer previously indicated he hoped that construction would begin before the end of the year.

The lease agreement gives the department two years to build the new station and allows it to be expanded and modified by the city in the future.

Exhibition update

The fair’s board of directors also unanimously approved the authorization of the building subcommittee to approve change orders related to the Expo building upgrade that do not exceed $ 30,000. .

The construction committee has learned that columns on the outside of the building may need to be repaired, like those inside that are in the contract, and that the insulation under the side panels may also need to be replaced.

Table in July awarded a nearly $ 1.2 million contract with Goddard’s Burwell Construction Inc. to sand and repaint the building’s two-story steel columns and support beams and repaint them with epoxy-based paint.

The contractor will also remove and replace the metal roofing and insulation as well as all the prefabricated vertical wall panels of the building. The set of prices also included the replacement of the ceiling lighting and the installation of radiant heaters.

The contract calls for work to be completed by Jan. 29 so that reservations can start again by March 1.

File photo The fair's board of directors would like to renovate the Bison Arena at an estimated cost of $ 7 million so it can showcase Kansas agriculture.  Focus groups will review the proposed designs over the next two weeks.

Bison arena

For the Bison Arena, a Wichita architectural firm hired to create concept plans for the building is planning a series of focus groups to present ideas and develop recommendations. The general plan is to create a new agricultural education building.

Some 20 to 30 focus groups involving more than 100 people are planned, advised chief executive Bryan Schulz, including members of the board itself, commodity groups and employees of the agriculture department. The 45-minute sessions will run via Zoom starting next week.

“Once they are done they will culminate the comments made and put together diagrams of what the building will look like and we will present it to the governor at the end of December,” Schulz said. “His recommendation was to have something by the end of the year to launch tenders for an architect if we decide to go ahead.”

Architectural drawings are outside the scope of the conceptual design contract awarded to Shaffer, Johnson, Cox and Fry.

Fire Marshal Hutchinson ordered the Bison Arena closed in 2019 because the building does not meet fire codes. So the building is now used for storage. Estimates for renovating and reusing the building range from $ 7 million to $ 14 million, officials said.

Capper Building

The designs for the reconstruction of the Capper Building “are advancing at full speed,” said James Fisher, executive director of the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation. They hope to have architectural drawings by Thanksgiving and then launch a tender and open for tenders in mid-December.

“We have enough money to pay the first part of the fee, but we have to increase the rest to pay it off,” Fisher said. Officials had previously estimated the project, including the creation of a maintenance endowment, at just under $ 800,000.

Following:State Fair’s Capper building to be completely replaced


The board participated in a brief executive session, and then later in the meeting, a “quasi-judicial session”, also closed to the public, to consider disqualifying a cattle entry in 2021. After the second discussion, the council voted unanimously to disqualify entry 1445 “for violating the withdrawal period rules.”

Council did not indicate which animal was involved or any further details about the alleged violation.

The show’s regulations state that for approved drugs administered by a veterinarian for animal health, “the exhibitor must declare that the drugs have been administered” and “the withdrawal periods must be observed for all market animals”, referring to drug residues being below certain levels.


The show’s contract with North American Midway Entertainment expires this year. The current contract was drafted in November 2011 and was extended in March 2016, Schulz said. The company agreed to extend it until the end of the year.

Board member Bob Atkisson suggested that a board subcommittee attending a national fair in San Antonio review the contract and negotiate with the company while he’s there and he is present at the board of directors meeting in january.

This company also operates the Skyride, so it was suggested that the contract be incorporated into the carnival contract.

The board also learned that an agreement with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to operate a cabin on the fairground was a 10-year deal made in October 2010.

Schulz said the fair is losing money on the deal and is considering terminating or renegotiating it.

Under the contract, KDWP and the fair share the rental fee 50/50, but the fair is responsible for preparing the property for rental, including cleaning, washing and changing of linens. It is rented an average of 10 to 12 times a month, but sometimes, Schulz said, there is only a delay of a few hours between rentals.

“It doesn’t cover our costs,” Schulz said. “There is an option in the deal that it can be canceled and the fair can take over. I contacted the Department of Wildlife and met their staff, but I met four or five different people.

His recommendation, Schultz said, is to take back the property and keep 100% of the rental or change the income distribution. To do that, he said, you would have to hire someone to manage it and do the laundry, but the fair could change the rate charged for the building, depending on the season, which it cannot. do now.

The board agreed to allow staff to negotiate a new cabin deal.

A booth at the Kansas State Fairgrounds is rented through the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, with the KDWP and State Fair dividing receipts 50/50.  Fair officials say the deal is costing fair money and want to change it, take over the booth or modify the split.

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