New air-conditioned exhibit hall opens just in time for Washington County Fair

The Grafton Building ribbon cutting was held Monday just two days before the Washington County Fair begins. The building will be home to the next exhibit hall for the fair and house the Utah State University Extension Office, Hurricane, Utah, Aug. 7, 2017 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, St. George News

HURRICANE – A small crowd showed up Monday morning to welcome in the newest building at the Washington County Regional Park just in time for this year’s county fair opening Wednesday.

Washington County commissioners and mayors from surrounding communities participated at the ribbon-cutting ceremony from the Grafton Building at 5500 W. 700 South in Hurricane. The building will serve as a new exhibit hall for the fair and a future epicenter for the county.

“At a certain point in the county, this will be the center point of the county. Hurricane has lots of area to grow and population will be growing in that area,” Washington County Commissioner Zachary Renstrom said. “So, this will be a nice focal point for them to be in the next 20, 40, 50 years.”

The building will also house the Utah State University Extension Office currently in the Ridge Top Complex in St. George after the office was displaced by a fire in January 2014.

The Grafton Building will provide additional space for local activities as well, such as sporting events, Washington County Commissioner Victor Iverson said.

The new building will be located near the existing exhibit hall and will provide 5,956 square feet of office space and 22,165 square feet of exhibit hall and associated areas. To boot, the building is the first of its kind at the park that has air conditioning, a feature the commissioners admit was badly needed during the summer months when many of the activities are held.

“This will be used constantly year around. The fairgrounds are used a lot already. It’s almost booked out all of the time,” Iverson said. “What this will help us do is, it will help us broaden the type of events that can come. It’s our first air-conditioned building out here as opposed to evaporative cooling so it will allow us to use (it) during the time of the year when it’s really hot. And while I recognize this may not be the center point of the county yet, as Hurricane and St. George and Washington continue to grow, this will become the epicenter of Washington County.”

The current exhibit hall is used throughout the year by events such as the Tri-State ATV Jamboree and the Winter 4×4 Jamboree, along with 4-H shows, horse shows, dog shows and barrel races.

Built in just a little more than four months, the construction deadline was Aug. 4. Watts Construction delivered the certificate of occupancy on that target date as expected by county officials, who took the time during Monday’s event to applaud the company’s owners for their timeliness and quality of work.

It came together perfect and that’s why we annunciated each one of them (company’s owners and project managers),” Nicholle Felshaw, county commission administrator, said. The timely completion was so important we had to get it done for the fair so when we went into the project that was our goal and they came through.”

Email: tsullivan@stgnews.com

Twitter: @tracie_sullivan

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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11 Comments

  • comments August 7, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Don’t the goats, pigs, and chickens deserve some central air as well?

  • Foxyheart August 8, 2017 at 1:26 am

    So….the building (which looks great BTW) is finished just in time for the fair. For what? All the exhibits that could use it are still in the old swamp-cooled building which does the photos and art no good (wet air). Why aren’t these items in the new building? Who is going to make use of the A/C?

  • Foxyheart August 8, 2017 at 1:28 am

    I meant to say, who GETS to make use of the A/C?

  • Not_So_Much August 8, 2017 at 6:12 am

    Wonderful, great building to have. Will it pay for itself or is this how you want your tax dollars spent?

    • comments August 8, 2017 at 11:13 am

      They love to spend our money. No denying it. spend spend spend. I’ve gone to the fair several times over the years, and let’s be honest, it’s pretty lame. Not a good use of our tax dollars.

  • Sapphire August 8, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Why can’t they hold the fair in late September or spring like So. Nevada? It is ridiculous to make everyone as well as the animals have to swelter in the heat. Lots of people can’t tolerate the heat and can’t go and enjoy this event. The WC Fair’s lame excuse is that the fair has always been held at this time and it always will. No room for common sense with them.

    • comments August 8, 2017 at 11:15 am

      I’ve heard that they wanna get it done before the children are back in school, but honestly, every reason they come up with is idiotic and lacks common sense.

  • ScanMeister August 8, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Agree with Sapphire about a cooler month for the fair. People and animals will appreciate such a date change to cooler.

  • Foxyheart August 8, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    This fair used to be Peach Days, so that is the timing of it. However, we still have Peach Days, so they can now be separated. I still see no reason that the bldg was done “in time for the Fair.” Yayyy, we got a new buidling. Boo, nothing related to the Fair will be in it.

  • utahdiablo August 8, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Hold the Fair in October, durning the “Fall Break” in schools, I have always been told the only reason it is held in August is because the school kids are out…..I have news for you, the school kids are always out for this break or that break, so not a problem, reschedule this for the fall, you’ll get a much better turn out…it’s too darn hot in August

  • riccie August 8, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    I was told that it needs to be done before the Utah State Fair so the county is properly represented along with the sweepstakes items there in good ol SLC.

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