The Rimbey Agricultural Society will construct a new $3.4-million building next year.
The Agrim Centre will have a new indoor riding arena, 900-seat grandstand, meeting space and boardroom totalling 60,000 square feet.
It will include green rain water collection and an emission-reducing solar wall.
It will be located inside the society’s existing rodeo grounds’ track and infield.
The society’s board voted to pay a $244,000 deposit and commission blueprints at its annual general meeting last week.
Preliminary work has begun.
Ponoka County earthmoving equipment readied the agricultural society grounds’ pad for construction earlier this fall and board member Tim Edge said foundation pilings should be driven next month.
“Tenders will be issued sometime in late January or early February.”
The society is looking to raise about $862,500 through sponsorships and fundraisers and is applying for provincial and federal grants for the same amount.
“We’ll be doing some smaller events right away and looking to sell the naming rights to a corporate sponsor,” said Edge.
Ponoka County previously contributed $500,000 to the project and voted last week to add another $500,000.
It also provided the earthmoving free and helped the society purchase about $200,000 in land adjacent to the grounds.
The Town of Rimbey waived the $60,000 development permit fees for the building.
Rimbey Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson welcomed the centre as a new “economic generator.
“It’s a beautiful facility and when it’s constructed, it will be a major draw for the community.”
The Agrim Centre will replace the aging Agriplex and its smaller riding arena.
A July report by RC Strategies Inc. for the ag society found a larger arena was cited by 86 per cent of online survey respondents and five of seven community groups surveyed.
Community stakeholders said agri-recreation was important to the town and benefits local businesses.
The report projected, based on current facility numbers, that revenues for the new centre would be $300,000 annually with expenses at $231,600, leaving an annual surplus of $68,000.
More information on the Agrim Centre is available online at www.agrim.ca.