A crowd was on hand April 11 as project partners turned the first shovels of dirt marking the start of the construction for the New Holland Pavilions at Alliant Energy Center in Madison. The $24 million expansion will replace the old barns with state-of-the-art multi-use pavilions. The construction project is to be completed in time for World Dairy Expo, Sept. 29 – Oct. 4.
The New Holland Pavilions will span 290,000 square feet, and will be equipped with modular stalling systems, modern ventilation and livestock exhibitor amenities. There will be two pavilions. The first pavilion will be two stories and will be 90,000 square feet. It will be heated and can be used year-round. It will feature the New Holland product display area. The second pavilion will be 200,000 square feet, will not be heated and can be used eight months of the year.
World Dairy Expo General Manager Scott Bentley says, "We are excited that the pavilion building project is underway. The new facilities will provide improved accommodations for the elite dairy cattle that travel to World Dairy Expo to compete."
The price tag for the new facilities is $24 million with New Holland paying $1.5 million for naming rights.
Financial support from public and private partners made this project a reality. Dane County, the State of Wisconsin, World Dairy Expo, Midwest Horse Fair/Wisconsin Horse Council, Centerplate, New Holland and BouMatic joined together to contribute to the construction project.
Last year, World Dairy Expo and the Midwest Horse Fair signed new multi-year contracts. World Dairy Expo's contract will keep them at the Alliant Energy Center for 10 years with a five-year option. The Midwest Horse Fair's contract is for 20 years.
Demolition and recycling of the old barns began April 14, the day after the 2014 Midwest Horse Fair was completed.
While the building project is expected to be finished in time for World Dairy Expo, Mike Holschbach, chairman of the World Dairy Expo board of directors, said they have a backup plan.
"We have our concerns that the building project will be completed by Expo, but the builders and the project coordinator have assured us this will be done," Holschbach says. If the project runs into delays, he says the contingency plan is to house show cattle in several large tents.
World Dairy Expo General Manager Scott Bentley adds, "We will be meeting regularly with the contractor and county to do site inspections."
Bentley says he is looking forward to the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new pavilions.
"We can comfortably house 2,500 dairy cattle in the two new buildings with capacity up to 3,500," he says, "so there is plenty of room for growth."