Fairgrounds building design contract approved

DLH Design was awarded the contract to provide architectural services for the new Rabbit and Poultry Building to replace the one destroyed in April at the Washington County Fairgrounds.

An early morning blaze gutted the building on April 29. The Washington County Fairgrounds building was home to the rabbits and poultry on display and judged during Labor Day weekend’s Washington County Fair and the River City Farmers Market on Saturdays.

According to the firm’s website, DLH Design is based in Marietta and provides architectural services for such buildings as homes, restaurants, religious structures and retail, community and commercial buildings.

DLH’s bid for $6,500, awarded by Washington County Commissioners on Thursday afternoon, beat out a bid from J.H. Wilson & Associates for about $39,500.

“The price difference was the big thing,” said Washington County Commission President David White. “Both architects are qualified. Both are local. Both had a similar time line. They were very competent. There was certainly no negative on either one.”

While the commissioners are pushing for the building to be completed before the fair, which starts Aug. 30, White said both firms indicated that was not a practical goal.

DLH will design the facility, prepare specifications and bid documents and provide contract administration and oversight. Work will begin immediately on the plans, said Rick Peoples, clerk of the Washington County Commissioners.

The commissioners also said Thursday the site of the burned building was cleared recently. It also is in the 100-year flood plain, which adds to the requirements that the building be flood-proof.

“If it weren’t for FEMA, we’d have it done,” Commissioner Ron Feathers said.

He said the details in the plans will let the commissioners know what hoops they will have to jump through to see construction finished.

While no animals were in the building at the time of the fire, what the fire did claim -besides the building itself covered by insurance- was merchandise stored there by the market’s vendors.

The vendors at the market typically sell furniture, candles, jewelry, baked goods and other crafts. Plants and vegetables also have started to be available.

Since the fire, the vendors have set up shop under the grandstand and will continue there until other arrangements are necessary, Gary Smith, president of the River City Farmers Market, said earlier this week.

The market rented the building from the Washington County Fair Board for $30 per week.

“The Fair Board has been very supportive,” Smith said. “In case of bad weather, we can go under the skating rink. They let us use that.”

Jasmine Rogers contributed.