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Sunday, August 22, 2010

August 26th---September 7th
Official says fair 'sitting in pretty good shape'
By Emily Nohr, For The Independent Friday, August 20, 2010
Hard-hat-wearing workers are hustling around the grounds, finishing electrical work, painting walls and making last-minute decisions.
After nearly two years of planning and construction, the new home of the Nebraska State Fair is taking shape -- and fair officials are energized about its premiere on Aug. 27, despite worries that the facilities won't be ready in time.
"It could be that some areas aren't going to be entirely done -- but they're going to be functional," said Marilyn Larson, director of marketing for Davis Design, the primary architecture firm on the job.
"When the fair is done this year, they have more construction they want to do because there just wasn't enough time to do all the buildings they wanted," added Leroy Svatora, a senior associate at Davis Design.
The almost 40,000-square-foot conference and office pavilion has not been started yet.
While pavement is being poured in the days leading up to the grand opening, the landscaping probably will not be finished by fair time, either. Svatora pointed out this time of the year isn't great for planting grass and flowers anyway.
And while the up-and-running buildings appear finished, plenty of fine-tuning needs to be done, Svatora said. Fair officials and participants will need time to get familiar with the new facilities, too.
"They aren't even trained yet on how to handle the equipment that they now have, as far as mechanical equipment," he said. "It's not just like turning a thermostat. There's a whole lot more to it."
Fair officials' top priority right now is getting the buildings and grounds cleaned up, said Joseph McDermott, State Fair executive director.
"There's a lot of detail work that needs to be done," he said. "For the most part, I think we're sitting in pretty good shape."
Svatora estimated the project would be officially completed next summer.
"Hopefully, before next fall at this time. That'll be the goal," he added.
For more information about the fair and its facilities, visit http://www.statefair.org/.

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