County cuts ribbon on Special Events Center

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Curry County Commission Chair, J. Albin Smith gave thanks to the taxpayers of Curry County Monday, during the Special Events Center Open House/Ribbon Cutting ceremony. Smith also gave the history of the Special Event Center.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

After more than a decade of planning and more than two years of construction, the county’s Special Events Center is nearly complete.

County Manager Lance Pyle said the county has started booking events in the multi-purpose facility, starting in April. He said 16 contracts for events have been mailed out so far. Events include concerts, a dog agility show and a high school graduation party.

He said the facility still lacks a parking lot and $1.5 million in amenities, including a scoreboard, chairs for the arena floor, public announcing system and bucking chutes for rodeos.

The county held a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday for the $8 million facility, which was paid for with local and state funding.

County Commission Chairman Albin Smith said he was excited and proud of the 96,000 square-foot facility, which seats more than 6,000 people.

“There’s not one like it for a long way,” he said. “We’re going to have this baby booked every weekend before you know it.”

More than 50 people attended the ceremony.

Pyle said the county administration held the ceremony Monday because it wanted commissioners who served during the planning and construction of the facility to open the ceremony before leaving office. Commissioners Tim Ashley and Pete Hulder have met their term limits and Smith declined to run for re-election.

Hulder said the original plan was to build a facility for $3 million but the cost went up after meeting with contractors.

“I can’t think of a facility I’ve seen that measures up to this for the money we spent,” he said. “We got a lot of bang for our dollars here.”

The county is handling management of the facility at the moment, but the issue of outsourcing the management will come up next year, he said.

Construction Project Supervisor Randy Kamradt said about 92 percent of the money for the facility was spent on local contractors.

“These guys live here, they’re our neighbors,” he said. “These guys did their individual best (to build the facility).”