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Fairgrounds Grandstands Headed for Upgrades
Commission OKs choice in architectural firm
Barbara Levitt, left, and her husband Daryl Levitt watch the pole races from the Flathead Valley Fairground's grandstand. - File photo by Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon
The grandstands at the Flathead County Fairgrounds are headed for some needed upgrades, with improvements that should help keep the century-old facility in use for years to come.

The Flathead County Commission approved the fairground manager Mark Campbell's choice for the architect firm for the project last week. A request for proposals for the project went out in early November, Campbell said, but he got only one response, from Architects Design Group in Kalispell.

Campbell told the commission on Dec. 3 that the proposal from Architects Design met all the qualifications he was looking for in regard to the project.

The grandstands have received aesthetic updates in recent years, such as new paint, but the planned changes will be more than skin deep.

The scope of the upgrades will include replacing the roof, reworking the lighting system, and adding new coats of paint to prevent degradation on the steel structural supports that hold up the roof within the grandstands.

There will also be efforts to upgrade the grandstands' handicapped-accessible seating. The original structure, built in the 1910s, did not include such facilitations, the architect group reported, and as such was grandfathered in when it came to adhering to current codes and standards.

However, as the fairgrounds move into the future, such additions must be taken into account, the group said, even if in the overall scope of the work on the grandstands this change will be relatively minor.
A preliminary budget for the project came in at $215,000.

"We need to work on this grandstand and get her back in shape," Campbell said in an interview after the commission meeting.

Campbell also said he hoped to have a finalized contract with Architects Design Group for this project by Dec. 6 or early the following week.
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