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Total Renovation Planned for 4-H Building at the Iowa State Fair

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The 2018 Iowa State Fair has come and gone and plans for reconstruction of the 4-H building are already underway.

The total renovation of the 4-H building is possible because of a $10 million donation from the Richard O. Jacobson Foundations. Six million dollars will go toward the new 4-H building and $4 million will be put into the other Jacobson buildings on the fairgrounds.

“What we’re limited by at the Iowa State Fair is real estate, space, but what the benefit of this facility is we do have some areas to grow the building on the east and the west,” Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation Executive Director Peter Cownie said.

The expansion will include extra classrooms. The classrooms will be used for the different exhibits during the fair. The 11 days of the fair are always packed with people and bustling with activity but during the other 354 days of the year, the fair rents out the facilities for trade shows, craft shows, and thrift shows.  The 4-H building, built in 1939, will look the same from the outside but the inside look brand new.

“The exterior we will renovate, we like the brick, it’s beautiful, it’s historic, but in here… quite frankly, we are going to turn a little bit of a lemon into lemonade,” Cownie said.

Construction on the facility will break ground after the 2019 fair and Cownie said it will be mostly completed by the 2020 fair.