SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois officials have accepted a more than $10 million bid from a contractor to repair the deteriorating Illinois State Fair Coliseum, with the goal of reopening the Coliseum in time for this year’s fair.
Springfield-based R.D. Lawrence Construction Co. was awarded the contract late last week, The State Journal-Register reported . The company hopes to begin construction in the coming weeks.
“I think everyone’s elated with the fact that movement has begun on the renovation repairs,” said John Slayton, chairman of the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, which was created in 2016 to raise money for the repairs.
Incentives are in place for R.D. Lawrence to finish work by July 20 so the coliseum can be reopened for this year’s fair, said John Goetz, the company’s president.
Funding for the project comes from $30 million the General Assembly allocated last year to repair the state’s two fairgrounds.
A large focus of the renovation will be the roof. An additional $2 million to $2.5 million is needed to repair the facility’s heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems. The Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation will continue seeking donations for the additional work, Slayton said.
Inspectors in 2016 concluded that the coliseum was no longer safe after years of neglect that resulted in significant structural deterioration. Hazards include corroding steel support beams, missing screws and bolts, leaks in the roof, water damage, peeling paint and missing wood planks.
Part of the three-tiered building dates to 1901. It was often used to house horse shows and other events.