COQUILLE — The Coos County Fair Board committee met in Coquille on Monday to discuss the upcoming summer fair. During their meeting, the group proposed their plans on building a new indoor arena as a way to cut down on expenses and expand services for the fairgrounds.

Board member Daris Bouthillier said the committee has been talking about creating some kind of permanent structure for the last six months and are now in the beginning stages of locating funds for the project.

“It seems that every year the cost of renting tents to house the animals at the fair and to host the auction just keeps escalating,” said Bouthillier.

According to Board Chairman Aaron Leep, for this year’s fair, the tents were rented for about $28,000 which includes mostly labor costs for setting up and tearing down the temporary shelters.

Leep said the new arena will either be 48,400 square feet or 57,600 square feet depending on how much funds the committee is able to raise. The group is applying for grants to help cover costs and currently have $100,000 from private donors. Leep said he estimates the arena costing anywhere from $800,000 to $1 million to build.

“We’re going to need community support and help to make this happen,” said Leep. “As far as right now our number one goal is to get some kind of structure built within the next year or two.”

The first phase will be completing the structure of the arena and having sides and a roof set up. The second phase will be including more features such as meeting rooms, offices, a possible kitchen and restrooms.

Bouthillier mentioned the space being used beyond the fair and for other events and activities throughout the year. The idea is to make the arena into a multi-use building that could also generate funds, said Bouthillier.

“Horse shows are really big in this area, “said Bouthillier. “The fairgrounds allows for tent and trailer camping, so if it’s a two day horse show people would be able to house their horses and stay.”

The committee is hoping to have some sort of artist drawing of the proposed arena with exact specifications and features in the next couple of months. Leep said they hope to have a booth set up at this year’s fair with completed design of the arena and further information for attendees to review. The Coos County Fair & Rodeo, which began in 1912, is scheduled to take place this year July 24-28.

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