Massive renovation project announced for Anderson Building

Two years ago, Lyon County tried unsuccessfully to garner a state grant to help improve the Fairgrounds Anderson Building. Commissioners tweaked their proposal last fall, only to have the state deny the grant application again a few weeks ago.


The project is moving forward now as a partnership between the county, city of Emporia, Jones Trust, Lyon County Fair Board and at least one anonymous donor.

The roughly $1.1 million project is led financially by $600,000 in county sales tax funds, along with $400,000 from the Jones Trust, an estimated $100,000 from the city for water and sewer improvements and a $50,000 matching grant from one unnamed donor for "functionality enhancements." County Commissioner Rollie Martin says the sales tax is an existing revenue stream, meaning no new tax money will be used for the work.

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Assistant City Manager Jim Witt says the city's side of the partnership came to fruition fairly rapidly.

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The Fairgrounds Improvement Committee has studied how best to improve the Anderson Building for two years now. Member Brian Keith says everybody will benefit from the partnerships now in place.

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The Anderson Building was constructed in 1969. An addition was built in 1993. Upgrades will include moving the bathrooms from the southeast corner to the west side, adding a kitchen and small meeting room, adding a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, installing a new roof and creating a new exterior among other upgrades.

BG Consultants' Bruce Boettcher says the planned improvements will enhance the building's functionality. He says there are some adjustments after the state turned down the county's grant application earlier this year.

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Other enhancements could be coming from the anonymous donor. Lyon County Extension agent Brian Rees:

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The county grant application was turned down two years ago because, at the time, the state said more information was needed about Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades. The denial earlier this year came after the state said the county didn't demonstrate the need for improvements and also because the state said Lyon County effectively could handle the project financially on its own.

Design work continues as artist renderings were unveiled Wednesday during the County Commission study meeting. The plan now is to bid by early November, start footings by December and finish the project by July -- in time for the 2015 Lyon County Fair.

The Anderson Building is heavily used. Rough estimates from the county have at least 45 non-private events per year covering 115 days and bringing in around 25,000 people per year.

To donate, call the Emporia Community Foundation at 342-9304. For information, also go online to www.emporiacf.org. Make sure checks are payable to "Anderson Building improvements."

Interim Fairgrounds Manager Sam Seeley will join KVOE's Morning Show at 8:15 am Thursday with more details.

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