Plans for new exhibition space at the Alliant Energy Center – Cowsmo

Plans for new exhibition space at the Alliant Energy Center

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced recently that plans to demolish and replace existing, aging barn facilities at the Alliant Energy Center (AEC) continue to move forward with the selection of architecture firm Strang Inc. to create the vision for modern, multi-use agriculture and exhibition pavilions.

“These multi-use pavilions will accomplish goals I identified early in my first term as County Executive – secure the long-term financial strength of the county’s Alliant Energy Center, keep our facility a multi-million dollar contributor to our local economy, and provide the kind of state of the art space that will help current and new customers call the AEC home for years to come,” said Parisi.

Early in his first term as County Executive, Parisi initiated conversations and planning regarding the future of the AEC, and prospects for the continuation of long-time staple events, like World Dairy Expo, that bring millions into the region’s economy.

As a result, Parisi developed a partnership with the state Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), and current AEC customers, to fund an $18 million plan to replace the AEC’s existing barns with two modern, state of the art multi-use pavilions. The state budget proposal before the legislature currently includes $9-million to fund half the cost of the project.

Should state and county funding meet final approval, and construction proceed, the multi-use pavilions hold the potential to secure long-term commitments from events like World Dairy Expo and Midwest Horse Fair.

The promise of multi-use facilities has already generated more than a dozen new contract proposals for shows that have expressed an interest in bringing their event to the AEC – hundreds of thousands in new business for the center and an influx in new tourism dollars for the local economy.

A resolution authorizing the county to award Strang Inc., the $745,000 architecture and engineering contract passed the Dane County Board’s Personnel and Finance, and Public Works and Transportation Committees this week. The County Board is anticipated to vote their final approval at their May 2 meeting.

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