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New Fairgrounds facilities near completion

Posted at 6:11 PM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 20:01:42-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — New facilities have been under construction at The Fairgrounds Nashville for months, and now in July, the facilities are close to completion with the first event scheduled to take place on August 17th.

“The Fairgrounds has been around here a long time, and we want to be here 100 years in the future as well, and this is going to help us get there,” Laura Womack, executive director for The Fairgrounds Nashville, said.

Three expo halls are covered, making up 131,000 square feet, with the largest expo hall consisting of about 55,000 square feet and 39-foot ceilings.

“I believe you can fit an NFL football field in this, if that gives it perspective,” Womack said.

The facilities have about the same square footage as the old Fairgrounds facilities, but these are built to accommodate modern events and events into the future.

“We’ve polled a lot of people to see what they saw as challenges in our existing buildings and how we could fix them and remedied those down in our new construction,” Womack explained, adding that the technological upgrades are some of the most exciting. “I’m really encouraged to have high-efficiency utilities, that’s really important to us. Things that are reliable, things that use modern technology to control – that will help us with our costs. As you can imagine up there (at the old facilities), we have some pretty significant maintenance issues being that our buildings are 55-years-old.”

The new facilities are already showing benefits, as The Fairgrounds has already booked new cheerleading competitions, three bridal shows, and once again booked the boat show, which previously left the Fairgrounds.

“We anticipate having new events that we’ve never been able to host before and I think we’re going to become the venue of choice in Nashville,” Womack said.

One of the events that is still operating at The Fairgrounds Nashville is the Tennessee State Fair, but they have chosen to use the old Fairgrounds facilities before they’re demolished rather than moving into the new facilities, which will be ready by the time the fair takes place.

“They’re gonna be up in our existing facilities for 2019, but beyond that, we have a plan in place in how they can transition down to these new spaces,” Womack said, adding that they’ve been working closely with The State Fair in hopes to keep them at The Fairgrounds Nashville, and they’re hopeful they can make that happen.

Under the plans surrounding the Fairgrounds and MLS Stadium, the new fairgrounds facilities had to be completed before any of the old facilities could be demolished.

Fairgrounds officials are looking to move their offices from the old buildings to the new buildings on August 7th, with the first event at the new Fairgrounds facilities scheduled to take place on August 17th. That event is a boxing event put on by Tri-Star Boxing.

The Tennessee State Fair will take place September 6th through the 15th at the Fairgrounds, and it’s expected that all the final details will be finished at the new facilities in mid-September.

The flea market is also expected to move their market to the new facilities in September.

The projected time to start demolition on the old buildings is October 1st, with the demolition expected to take about 3 months, after which time, the construction on the MLS Stadium can begin.

But this all comes as "Save our Fairgrounds" once again has their case against the city in court with the goal of stopping the construction.

There is currently no word on when that case will be heard, but the new Fairgrounds facility is near completion, and for those who haven’t been to the Fairgrounds, or even those who have, officials encourage everyone to visit the Fairgrounds.

“We do State Fair, we do consumer shows, we do indoor sports, we have something for everyone, and if you haven’t come to visit us, come see what we have to offer,” Womack said.