On May 9, the Orange County Commissioners Court awarded G&G Enterprises the contract to build a community exposition and event center off of FM 1442, on 31 acres about one mile south of Interstate 10.

The center will also be used as a county central base during emergency situations.
The construction phase is set to break ground next week, Colin Garrett, vice president of G&G Enterprises, said.

“Hopefully, with all paperwork in order, we will break ground next Monday,” Garrett said. “Once we break ground, our construction schedule will be 15 months, weather permitting. Anything considered an act of God would be cause for time extensions.”

G&G Enterprises’ total bid for the project was $10,560,000, Garrett said.

The center will include conference rooms, offices for the county’s road and bridge and environmental heath departments, an event center equipped with lighting, sound system and room dividers, parking area, covered arena for livestock shows, rodeos, concerts, festivals, farmers’ markets and graduations and lighted athletic fields.

The cost of the center is $13.2 million, with $10.7 million being provided through various grants and money available to the county, and the C.H.A.M.P.S. (Community Hands Assembling a Multi-Purpose Structure) board is looking to raise the remaining $2.9 million through the private sector.

Federal funds already approved for the center total $9.86 million, as long as the construction is completed within a 24-month period, according to C.H.A.M.P.S. documentation.

“We are asking both private businesses and private citizens,” Joel Ardoin, board vice president, said. “Anything that can be given is appreciated. We don’t ask for any set amount.”