WACO (June 22, 2010)—McLennan County Commissioners signed off Tuesday on a proposed master plan for increasing capacity and improving facilities at the Heart ‘O’ Texas Fair Complex in Waco.
The plan calls for expanding the Show Pavilion Facility including two new barns with 288 stalls, building a new show arena and a new outdoor warm-up pen, expanding paved parking lots, building a new larger Exposition Hall to replace the General Exhibits and Creative Arts Buildings and the addition of a hotel site.
The Exposition Hall will face Bosque Blvd. and will connect to the Heart O’ Texas Coliseum.
The Fair Complex Board funded the master plan project, which was conducted by the global design company Populous.
“This is an investment in the future of the complex,” said Matt Fatheree, chairman of the board of directors.
“Using Fair funds to establish the Master Plan shows the board’s commitment to improve the Complex and being good stewards of the public resources we manage,” he said.
The complex, which hosts more than 225 events attracting more than 420,000 people annually has a $40 million annual economic impact on the area, according to a study by Baylor University economist Dr. Tom Kelly.
“Improvements and additions such as the renovation of the coliseum and the construction of the equestrian facility has made the Fair complex one of the premier facilities in the country,” said David L. Forkner, of Populous, who will lead the master plan project for the company.
His projects include a study on the Astrodome, and fair and events centers in New Mexico, Virginia and Oregon.