CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) – It’s been nearly three years since the Northern Wisconsin State Fair’s red barn coliseum was destroyed in a windstorm. Now, its replacement is on the horizon.

Crews are set to break ground on Aug. 8 on a coliseum, several new barns and other facilities.

Northern Wisconsin State Fair Executive Director Rusty Volk said the fair has raised about 80 percent of the more $6 million needed for the project that he believes will change agriculture on the grounds.A

“This project consists of four animal buildings that’s going to consist of two cattle barns, a coliseum show arena and a livestock barn,” he said.

The project also includes a restroom, shower and concessions facility that can serve as a FEMA-designed safe room during severe weather. Its centerpiece, however, is the coliseum replacing the red barn destroyed in 2019.

“This coliseum will be 8,000 square feet. It will be heated, air-conditioned,” Volk said. “It’ll be a year-round venue so that we can add educational programs at the fairgrounds throughout the year. We’re basically building an education campus for youth.”

He said new facilities should last as long or longer than the century-old barns they’re replacing.

“It is amazing,” Chippewa County 4-H Program Educator Heidi Benson said.

She said new digs will provide more opportunities for her students.

“The opportunity to have year-round opportunities and meeting locations that are in Chippewa, nicely furnished, nicely located on the fairgrounds will only help us when we’re planning those things,” she said.

Most importantly, Volk said the project will secure the fair’s agricultural future.

“We have to be an instrument for northern Wisconsin that everybody wants to come to so we’re bringing on this barn project so that everybody can really be appreciative and be proud of what northern Wisconsin is,” he said.

The new facilities should be open in time for the 2023 Northern Wisconsin State Fair.

People can donate on the fair’s website.

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