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Improvements coming to century-old facilities at Missouri State Fair

Mo. Dept. of Agriculture

The home of the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia is about to get a nearly $4 million upgrade, thanks to legislation passed this year.

The bulk of the renovations will take place at the state fair coliseum and the Womans Building, both of which are more than a hundred years old.

Gov. Jay Nixon detailed the upgrades to a group of supporters and the media Wednesday at the fairgrounds, standing outside the Womans Building, which was originally built in the early 20th Century so women could have a place to cool off on extremely hot days.

  "It needs sprucing up, let's not kid ourselves," Nixon said. "The building was built in 1910, (and) like a house built in 1910, you've got to take care of it."

Work on the Womans Building will also include a new roof, new exterior windows, renovating the restrooms, the electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, and improving accessibility for those with disabilities. The building's official name was misspelled; it was supposed to be "Women's Building."

"I apologize in advance to all the reporters and English teachers who have to go back and tell their editors that they haven't messed up," Nixon said.

The Missouri State Fair Coliseum is even older, as it was built in 1906. Work on that facility will include repairs to the roof and gutters, masonry work, an exterior paint job, replacing exhaust fans, a new concrete floor, and replacing a wheelchair lift and handrails on ramps.

Credit Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio
The Womans Building, built in 1910.

  "Simply put, the Missouri State Fair is an important and enduring tradition, (and) as leaders of this state we have a responsibility to leave these fairgrounds better than we found them," Nixon said.

In all, the Womans Building will get about $1.5 million and the coliseum $1.3 million. Another $1 million will go toward upgrading the West Campground's utility system.

A spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Agriculture says that the renovations will begin after this year's state fair is over. The 2015 Missouri State Fair runs from Aug. 13-23.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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