County approves contracts; Grandstand to be ready for fair
MANTI — The Sanpete County Commission, sitting as the Sanpete County Building Municipal Building Authority (MBA), has given the go-ahead to begin construction of a new fairground arena in time for this year’s county fair.
The MBA approved a purchase agreement with Jackson Motorplex, the Minnesota company providing bleachers from deconstructed NASCAR grandstands. The panel approved a contract with the Utah Community Impact Board (CIB), which had approved a grant of $895,000 for fairgrounds improvements, including the grandstand.
Engineer Garrick Willden of Jones & DeMille accompanied Fair Board Chairman Mike Bennett to the meeting to explain his company’s inspection of the grandstands in Minnesota. At the last meeting of the MBA in March, authority members made final approval of grandstand purchase contingent on an on-site inspection.
MBA member Scott Bartholomew asked Willden, “Has the engineer looked at it?” Willden told the members that another engineer from Jones & DeMille had gone to Minnesota and physically inspected the grandstands. “It’s a good quality product,” Willden said.
Willden said that his firm would have to complete a computer simulation to make sure the grandstand would comply with Utah building code standards for load bearing and wind shear. However, since Minnesota and Utah standards are very similar, Willden was confident the stands would meet the requirements.
MBA President Steve Lund asked Willden, “Do you have any concerns with the contract with the provider?” Willden answered that he had no concerns at all.
Bennett explained that with the approval from the MBA of the CIB contract, the Fair Board had all but $257,000 of its $1.8 million target budget for fairground upgrades pledged or in hand.
Bennett also explained that the original budget included building a 2,500-seat grandstand for $857,000. Now, with grandstands purchased from Minnesota, the cost of the stands would only be $357,000 for more than 4,500 seats.
Bennett added that the Minnesota company had made a new offer to provide another three sections of grandstands for an extra $100,000. That could bring total seating for the new fairgrounds arena to more than 11,000 at a cost below half of the Fair Board’s original estimate. However, the MBA did not act on the option of increasing the purchase from Jackson Motorplex by $100,000.
Willden explained that approving the contract with the CIB would provide immediate cash for fairgrounds improvements, including the new seating. He recommended placing CIB money beyond the amount needed immediately for purchase of the Minnesota stands in an escrow account.
Willden said that he had explained to the CIB that depending on how soon pledged money was deposited, it might take two to three years to complete all proposed fairgrounds improvements, including restrooms and a concessions area. According to Willden, CIB had no problem with that timeline.
Bartholomew wanted to be sure there would be an arena in time for this year’s fair. “If we miss one year of the fair, we may not get it (fair patronage) back at all.” Bennett assured him, “We will have a fair.”
Parts of the project may take more than one year to complete, but the arena itself will definitely be ready by August, he said.