Grandstand Structure up, seats going in
By Suzanne Dean
Dec. 21, 2017
MANTI—The steel components of a long-awaited grandstand at the Sanpete County Fairgrounds are up, installation of seating started this week, and other fairgrounds improvements are on the drawing board.
While finances will drive how much gets completed in the current fairgrounds development phase, one thing is certain: A new arena, including the grandstand, will be ready for the 2018 fair, says Mike Bennett, Fairboard chairman.
“The only thing I would like to add is a huge thanks to all the businesses and individuals who have donated to make this project a reality. It’s been a long time in the making,” Bennett said.
Installation of the 40-foot “substructure” for the grandstand was completed about Dec. 15. On Monday, workers started adding aluminum benches and back rests along the rows where people will sit.
All materials for the main grandstand, for two “wings” on either side of the grandstand, and for two bleacher sections that will be set up on the opposite side of the arena from the grandstand were salvaged from an auto racetrack in Minnesota.
If the Fairboard hadn’t found the salvaged material, it would not have had enough money to move forward with a new grandstand, Bennett says.
After all of the materials had been shipped from Minnesota, Bennett and Willden found the project was still running over budget. So they trimmed the size of the main grandstand and decided to hold up on installation of the two grandstand wings.
“We were over budget for the entire project,” Garrick Willden of Jones and Demille, the consulting engineer, explains. “In order to bring it back within budget, we had to remove some items.”
Project planners decided to move “the best set of bleachers that were in the old arena and put those in” where the grandstand wings would have gone, Willden says. Material for wings will be stored north of the animal barns and hopefully installed somewhere down the road, he says.
Additionally, the grandstand structure is rusted, but that doesn’t affect the structural soundness, says Willden. “Cosmetically, in the future, you could paint it, but there are no plans to do anything right now,” he says.
All that means is that for the 2018 fair, there will be a new events area with seating for about 7,000, Willden says. The main grandstand, which will be on the north side of the arena facing south, will seat 3,000. The two bleacher sections sitting where grandstand wings will ultimately go will hold another 1,000 each. Likewise, the two new bleachers sections on the south side of the new arena facing north will hold 1,000 each.
Besides setting up seating, the biggest job in developing the arena has been putting in new dirt. The original hard-clay surface wasn’t suitable for rodeo and other events, Willden says. So the county contracted with Terry Brotherson Excavating of Mt. Pleasant to bring in 6,000 tons of fill. Brotherson “gave it to the county at a very low cost,” Willden says.
The dirt has already been spread 2 feet deep over most of the arena. A pile of the dirt is being retained to fill in a few final areas after the new bleachers are set up and fencing is complete.
Meanwhile, Jones and Demille is working on a design for an 1,800-square-foot restroom and concession building, to be located behind the new grandstand.
A master plan for the fairgrounds also calls for splitting an existing woman’s restroom, located in a building immediately behind the Exhibit Building, into both men’s and women’s restrooms.
Along with the restrooms planned in the new building behind the grandstand, that would give the fairgrounds two sets of restrooms.
The existing men’s restroom and concession stand, located in a red and white building east of the Manti City swimming pool, would be demolished.
Finally, new sidewalks are planned from the Exhibit Building to the new arena and around the main grandstand.
However, Willden says, the supplementary projects won’t be started until the arena and grandstands are complete. “It’s all contingent on where we’re at financially after the grandstand and arena are built,” he said.
The total cost for fairgrounds improvements slated to go in during 2017 and 2018 is $1.8 million. All of the money is grants and donations; no money is being borrowed.
The county received an $895,000 grant from the Utah Community Impact Board, a $150,000 grant from the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation and a $150,000 gift from an individual who asked to remain anonymous.
The rest came from donations from cities, companies and individuals. Most of the donors are located in Sanpete County.