Fairboard seeks new building

By Karl Terry, PNT Managing Editor

Roosevelt County commissioners are behind exploring the possibility of a building multi-purpose building at the Roosevelt County fairgrounds.

“When you go to the fair everything looks so festive you don’t realize what all’s wrong with the facilities,” said Sharon King, fair board member and Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce executive director.

“We’re getting to the point where we have liability (issues) in nearly every building,” Fair board President Tim Allison said during Tuesday’s county commission meeting.

The commission King and Allison consent to hire an architect to draw up plans for a building that could be used for a variety of functions outside of the fair, including horse shows and ropings.

County staff estimated the architects fees somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000.

According to Allison, the type building the board has its eyes on would probably be 180 feet by 360 feet and be enclosed and insulated for year-round use. It would also have numerous garage-type doors so that it could be opened in good weather and access would be improved.

Allison said cost estimates have ranged from $600,000 to $1.2 million. He said that wide unknown makes it necessary to have an architect come up with a design and estimates before proceeding.

King and Allison also told commissioners that funding construction of the facility through grants or appropriations was unlikely. They say that a USDA loan at 4.5 percent for 40 years seems to be the most likely way to fund the project at this time.

“The fair board has been working on this about two years,” Allison said. “The fair board felt like it would be well worth it even if we have to make a payment.”

King said the board believes facility rentals would likely cover the payment. She said the availability of a facility such as this would greatly enhance economic development, bringing new events and revenue from outside the community into Portales.

Allison said the plan is not to build something as large as the Curry County Special Events Center, which is just being completed. He said Lamesa and Muleshoe, Texas, have similar size facilities and he believes Roosevelt County loses some events to those cities and others.

Commissioners also approved seeking architect’s design on remodeling the top floor of the courthouse for county manager’s office space. The upper floor once housed the county jail but has been used as storage in recent years.

County Manager Charlene Hardin said the county had pursued the possibility of moving the office out of the courthouse but had not come up with a financially feasible plan. She said she wanted to explore the possibilities for the space before doing anything else.