Cascade County has hired two contractors for $68,281 to paint eight barns and put a new roof on another barn at Montana ExpoPark as part of ongoing improvements during a slowdown in events due to COVID-19.
Commissioners approved a $36,945 contract Tuesday for C’s Painting Plus of Great Falls to complete the painting work, which is now underway.
Also OK’d as part of that contract was a $7,389 contingency the county can tap if needed, making the total project cost potentially $44,334.
Seven horse barns, the Test Barn, race office and restroom are being pressure washed and painted white.
“The paint is in rough shape obviously,” Public Works Director Les Payne said.
The barns, used to stall horses during rodeos, races and other events, are clustered near the horse track in the northeast corner of the fairgrounds and take up about a third of the 133-acre facility.
The barns are visible from the Northwest Bypass and 3rd Street Northwest.
“It makes it a much more attractive part of the property,” ExpoPark Director Susan Shannon said of the fresh coat of paint the barns will receive.
C’s Painting Plus owner Warren Cham-A-Koon was pressure washing the barns Thursday and said he planned to begin painting Friday.
The last time the horse barns were painted was in 2009, Payne said.
Also Tuesday, commissioners OK’d a $19,956 contract with A.T. Klemens to put a new roof on the Test Barn, which is located near the horse barns. It includes a contingency of $3,991 for county staff to use in the event of unforeseen work that comes up during the project.
The Test Barn was once used to conduct blood tests on racehorses, Shannon said.
Now it is used to store racetrack equipment.
The county also plans to have the larger rodeo barn, located on the south end of the fairgrounds, painted as well, Payne said. That project is currently out for bid.
COVID-19 canceled the 2020 State Fair and postponed a host of other popular events at the county-owned fairgrounds.
More: Cascade County cancels 2020 State Fair due to coronavirus concerns
The county is taking advantage of the limited use of the fairgrounds in 2020 to fix up ExpoPark.
More: With events silenced, Cascade County decides it’s right time to fix up Montana ExpoPark
Contracts totaling around $600,000 have been awarded in recent months for various projects including installing a water main, tree trimming, painting, building repairs and landscaping.
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This article originally appeared on Great Falls Tribune: Horse barns at Montana ExpoPark getting fresh coat of paint as fairgrounds improvements continue