MYRTLE POINT — Construction kicked off last month to assemble a new livestock barn at the Coos County Fairgrounds in Myrtle Point.
The new barn is estimated to be completed by June 30, a few weeks prior to the 2019 Coos County Fair & Rodeo.
According to Coos County Fair board member Daris Bouthillier, the barn, which began as a multi-purpose indoor arena, was scaled back from its original concept last fall due to unforeseen costs and time restrictions.
“Part of the fairgrounds is on a floodplain and in order to build a big multi-use building we discovered that we would have to raise the building up over the floodplain level,” said Bouthillier. “We would have to put in ADA accessible bathrooms and other building requirements, which raised costs immensely.”
Last spring, the board discussed constructing a permanent building that would replace costly animal tents and feature its own offices, meeting rooms, restrooms and kitchen area. The temporary tents cost nearly $30,000 a year to rent, set up and tear down, according to Bouthillier.
“The core need is really for a shelter for the animals and the kids that handle them,” said Bouthillier. “We scaled it back to do something that we thought was a lot more realistic and achievable.”
The livestock barn has been designed as a wooden pole barn. The fair board agreed that wooden structures weather better than steel structures in the western Oregon coastal climate. The expansive roof
will provide plenty of shade for people and the open sides will allow the afternoon breeze to flow through. The design includes a 16-foot center section and lighting.
"While many communities are racing to keep up with the latest trends, the residents of Coos County still encourage their kids to raise livestock, ride horses and to enjoy one of the last remaining old fashioned county fairs," said Coos County Fair board president Dan Berg.
"We still believe there is tremendous value in teaching our children about life and responsibility," Berg added. "The Coos County Fair & Rodeo has been providing the children of Coos County and the Coos Youth Auction Committee with a venue without charge, to showcase their animals and the skills they have learned. The CCF&R has been a tradition since 1912."
The Coos County Fair Alliance, a nonprofit organization aimed at supporting Coos County Fair projects and programs, has raised over $200,000 for the barn, which is estimated to cost up to $450,000 to complete.
It is expected to house 300 to 400 livestock animals and will feature adjustable pens that can be changed from year to year to meet its housing needs. The proposed 32,682-square-foot barn will be located where the tents have been set up in seasons past adjacent to the auction area.
“We do have some room in the design to expand in the future if we need to,” said Bouthillier. “The barn will be used almost exclusively for housing animals for the fair and for local 4-H and FFA programs throughout the year.”
The new barn will also include a metal roof and utilities such as electricity and water. Also underway at the fairgrounds is the remodeled poultry barn this year, and the new food pavilion planned for the
2020 Coos County Fair & Rodeo. To donate or for more information, including weekly updated progress photos, project donations and funding levels, visit www.cooscountyfairalliance.org.
This year’s Coos County Fair & Rodeo is scheduled to be from July 23-27.