Huron, SD –Construction on the DEX: Dakota Events CompleX has begun on the South Dakota State Fairgrounds. The Open Class Sheep Barn was demolished in April and construction has begun to replace the water main and storm sewer down Livestock Avenue from Grandstand Way south to 2nd Street.
2021 sheep barn photo before demolition
Due to construction activities Livestock Avenue and Gate 4 are closed to traffic. Visitors can access the fairgrounds buildings using Flag Avenue.
The Open Class Sheep Barn was demolished in partnership with Advanced Sunflower who salvaged most of the materials. Built in the early 1950s, over 65 years of world class sheep shows have taken place creating lifelong memories for participants. Generations of South Dakotans have shown in this facility. To make sure the camaraderie, world class shows, and celebrations carry on for generations to come, a task force of sheep industry and fair representatives has been meeting to formulate a plan for what type of facility will be needed to showcase the fair’s world class sheep exhibitors and their breeds. According to DANR secretary Hunter Roberts some of the wood from the sheep barn will be used with the Dex.
The DEX is the new multipurpose livestock and equestrian facility replacing the Open Class Beef Complex destroyed by fire in 2020.
The 150,000 square-foot facility will be able to house two, full-sized equestrian arenas, or 1,700 plus cattle stalls and seat up to 5,000 people. The facility will be heated for year-round usage and include a ventilation system to ensure proper air movement. Additionally, to create a positive experience for livestock shows and equestrian events, adequate electrical drops and a variety of access points for water, including water drops throughout the building, will be available.
The DEX will have a pre-function and concession area with restrooms. Future plans also include an enclosable, heated wash rack connected to the DEX.
Henry Carlson, a Sioux Falls based company, was selected as the construction manager for the project. The prefabricated metal building was ordered in September, with several of the remaining components being bid out in March. While the project has been impacted by increases in construction material costs, as well as delays in construction materials, substantial completion is still on target for June 2023. The DEX construction costs are estimated at $24.6 million.
Due to the demolition of the Open Class Sheep Barn and construction of the DEX, the 2022 Open Class Sheep and Beef Shows will be relocated to the 4-H Livestock Complex.
The project is being funded through a state – private partnership with the state contributing $16 million. Private support for the DEX has been outstanding with over $6 million pledged to date. Roberts said they continue to look for additional supporters.
The fundraising effort continues to help offset increased construction costs and ensure the facility has every amenity in place to hit the ground running in 2023. There are still many great donor opportunities available including interior naming rights and donor wall recognition. In addition, livestock producers can leave their legacy by having their brand on display at the DEX brand wall. The brand wall will be in a highly visible area that can be enjoyed year-round by DEX visitors. If you are interested in participating, please contact the SD State Fair Foundation at 605.353.7340.