County approves final events center plan

CNJ Staff Photo: Tony Bullocks
Curry County Manager Dick Smith displays the final drawing of the Curry County Special Events Center.

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

Seventy-one pages of detailed drawings depicting the future Special Events Center were approved by the Curry County Commission during Tuesday’s regular meeting.
Albuquerque architect Jim Lewis presented the renditions, which are the final plans for the multi-purpose facility to be built on a parcel of land located on the west side of the Curry County Fairgrounds.

Lewis said the Special Events Center will have 85,000 square feet of ground space and include just under 3,500 fixed seats. More than 5,000 seats will be available if the building is used as an auditorium, with supplemental portable seating available to some degree, Lewis said.

Lewis estimates the project will cost $6.8 million, which is approximately half a million dollars more than the county has allocated for the project.

“Our (Curry County) goal is to get this building up and then add amenities,” Smith said. “I’m not concerned about the money. We will get it (Special Events Center) done with the money we have.”

Longtime Special Events Center supporter and Clovis resident Gloria Wicker said finalizing the drawings was a huge step toward seeing the building completed.
“I am absolutely, positively thrilled because I have been pushing for this (Special Events Center) for years,” Wicker said. “I am also thrilled to death we (Curry County) are finally going to use that land for what it was intended for.”

Smith said the next phase will be opening various construction bids on Oct. 10. The bids will remain open for four weeks before being brought before the commissioners Nov. 9 for approval.

“This is a perfect time to start (building),” Lewis said, “because winter is approaching and metal building contractors are less busy during those months.”

The enclosed metal structure will be used for a variety of events, including concerts, rodeos and monster truck shows. The building will also feature two flooring options to accommodate different types of events. A dirt floor will be used for equestrian events, and a hard, snap-together floor will be installed for concert-type events.

The Special Events Center is expected to create 20 full-time jobs have an estimated annual economic impact in Curry County of between $50 million and $100 million after becoming fully functional, according to Smith.

Once construction begins, Smith estimates the project will be completed within a year.

“This is still a work in progress,” Smith said, “but I feel like we presented very workable plans.”