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County plans more upgrades for fairgrounds’ electric grid

Continuing efforts to bring the Park County Fairgrounds’ electric grid up to date, county commissioners are planning to bid out some $218,000 worth of work to the complex.

Following a review by a state electrical inspector, the fair board and county commission learned last spring that the grounds had a number of electrical code violations. The most serious issues — those deemed a threat to public safety — had to be addressed prior to the opening of the 2010 fair. That work came at a cost of roughly $99,000.

Because of the short time frame between learning of the problems and the opening of the fair, the county awarded the work without a bid.

Having had more time to address the additional less pressing issues, the county in October hired H & H Electric of Douglas as a consultant to prepare a comprehensive plan for additional work on the fairgrounds’ electrical system.

On Dec. 21, the commission approved a construction contract with H & H; documents prepared by the company for “Phase I” of the improvements call for seeking bids on an estimated $218,700 worth of electrical work. H & H will be paid up to $18,600 for its design work.

At the top of the list of fixes is eliminating stray voltage around the animal barns — a problem discovered during the 2010 fair.

County and fair staff learned of the voltage problem when pigs began acting as though “something was shocking them” while they were being washed, said County Buildings and Grounds Supervisor Dennis Spargur.

Spargur said the stray voltage had apparently been picked up by the water flow. He said the pigs did not suffer serious injury from the trickle charge; in coordination with an electrical inspector, an underground line suspected to be causing the problem was disconnected for the remainder of the fair.

Among the other problems to be addressed are electrical wires hanging too low over the sale barn, wiring problems at the beef barn and at-times overloaded wires powering the 4-H trailer and nearby restroom.

The improvements will include providing new underground electrical lines to the beef, swine, sheep, dairy cattle, goat, rabbit and chicken barns, along with new breaker panels and wall outlets, Spargur said. Better lighting and more efficient power are also among the planned upgrades.

Spargur said H & H Electric is continuing to work on specifications and drawings for the project. He said the hope is to go out for bids at the end of March.

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