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Repairs are planned for the Illinois State Fairgrounds

The Illinois State Fair Coliseum
Illinois Dept. of Agriculture
The Illinois State Fair Coliseum

An estimated $58 million in improvements to the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield are on tap over the next year.

Renovations to the Multi-Purpose Arena are underway. Structural improvements were made. Additional work will include repairing sidewalks, walls, steps and the electrical system. A new canopy will be installed and retaining walls will be rebuilt at a cost of $8.6 million.

Constructed in 2000, the Multi-Purpose Arena is a 261,000 square foot building set on six-acres of the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The facility is known for hosting the National High School Rodeo Finals, monster truck shows, motorcycle racing, truck and tractor pulls, and demolition derby.

The construction will render the facility unusable during the 2022 Illinois State Fair.

“The work being done to improve our fairgrounds is enabling us to use the grounds for more events year-round, which helps bring in tourism for Springfield and our surrounding area,” said Illinois State Fair Manager Rebecca Clark. “In the weeks and months ahead, the Illinois State Fair and the Illinois Department of Agriculture will be working with the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln to build a master plan for our fairgrounds that will provide the blueprint needed to ‘grow’ our facility usage to meet the needs of our community and further define our position as an event destination in central Illinois.”

Phase 2 of repairs to the Coliseum will overhaul the electrical system and plumbing while adding new seating, restrooms, an elevator and adding a new HVAC system for heating and cooling. That project will cost approximately $16.3 million.

“For the past three years, this administration has been committed, and continues to be committed, to improving the Illinois State Fairgrounds,” said Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello II. “Starting with the crown jewel, the Coliseum, and expanding across the grounds, the work that is being done today will ensure our fairgrounds will be here for many years to come.”

This spring, the Department of Agriculture kicked off a $4.1 million road construction project in the heart of the fairgrounds to improve the conditions of the roads commonly used by non-fair event patrons and state fair agriculture exhibitors. The roads along the cattle barns, swine barn, and along the Avenue of Flags were repaired and resurfaced to withstand heavy trailer traffic often used during livestock shows and vendor deliveries during the fair.

Other projects slated to take place in FY 23 include:

* $1.87 million: Roof replacements on the Junior Livestock Building, Sheep Barn, Hobbies Arts and Crafts Building, and at least three barns along the backstretch;
* $11.9 million: HVAC replacements on the Orr Building, Illinois Building, Junior Livestock Building, Artisans Building, Hobbies Arts and Crafts Building, and Grandstand;
* $2.994 million: Tuckpoint work in the Grandstand, Artisans, Hobbies Arts and Crafts, Emmerson and Block (IDOA headquarters) buildings;
* $8 million: Road construction along 8th Street between the IDOA building and the IDNR building and along the backstretch on the northwest corner of the fairgrounds; provides funding to make structural improvements to the south pedestrian tunnel leading into the fairgrounds from Gate 6/infield parking;
* $2.585 million: Energy improvement repairs for Block Building;
* $1.7 million: Roof and HVAC replacement to Illinois State Fair Administration Building.

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