Building Under Way on $5.6 Million Expo Center

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Feb. 27, 2012 12:00 am  

Construction started in Jonesboro earlier this month on the $5.6 million 110,000-SF Northeast Arkansas Exposition & Conference Center.

The center, which features 80,000 SF for conventions or meetings, should be completed by Aug. 15, said Craighead County Fair Association President Eddie Burris. The remaining 30,000 SF will be used for lobby and office space.

The pre-engineered steel building sits on 80 acres in the northeast corner of Jonesboro at the new location of the Northeast Arkansas District Fairgrounds.

The convention area features removable partitions, so the area could be configured to hold four 20,000-SF events, or two 20,000-SF meetings and four 10,000-SF events, Burris said.

“Jonesboro has been talking about [building] a convention center for meetings and activities, and we hope this building will take some of that pressure off,” he said. He plans for the building to be used throughout the year.

Jonesboro’s current expo center, 25,500 SF also owned by the Fair Association, is “continuously rented,” Burris said.

The Fair Association will continue to lease the center for others to use while using the new one too, he said.

The new expo center is the centerpiece of phase one of the development of the fairgrounds, which also will feature a swine barn, cattle barn and a midway. The total cost of the first phase is about $8.5 million, said Gene Vance, the owner of Vance Construction Solutions LLC of Jonesboro, the construction manager of the project.

The second phase is expected to include an arena or amphitheater. But the timetable for that project hasn’t been set.

Bill Wage of Jonesboro is the architect on the project, and Bailey Contractors Inc. of Bono is the contractor.




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