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Big E Renovations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- West Springfield, Mass. -- January 6, 2011

More Info: 413-205-5041

Info Line: 413-205-5115





Wayne McCary, president and CEO of Eastern States Exposition, announced Thurs., Jan, 6, 2011, that the organization will embark on a $2.2 million construction project to build a new, covered warm-up arena attached to C-Barn, the main horse barn utilized by the ESE Horse Show held during The Big E as well as a number of year-round equine events.

Exposition officials vowed to continue their commitment to agriculture and the Horse Show by further developing infrastructure to maintain ESE’s position as New England’s most sought-after equine destination.

President McCary said, “I am confident that this project will further solidify the Exposition’s position as the premier horse show facility in the northeast. Our commitment to agriculture and our Horse Show, which began here in 1916, is ongoing.”

The Exposition is also home to 12 year-round horse shows as well as a major equine-related trade show, Equine Affaire®, held each November.

Donald R. Chase, ESE chairman of the board, said, “The Exposition’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve this project and move forward as quickly as possible. We are fortunate to have the ability to make this investment in our physical plant in response to the needs of our horse show community.”

The new arena will match the height of the existing building and the 66’ x 170’ clear span outdoor roof will be bordered by a 4’ brick perimeter wall with pre-cast concrete upright posts. The exterior of the structure will mirror the north wall of the existing barn and its walls will consist of a permeable vinyl designed to protect riders and horses from the elements while providing air circulation and ventilation. Each end of the covered arena will feature 20’ ornamental iron sliding gates. 

Riders will be cooled by 16’ low speed, high volume fans. New lighting will be installed and the riding arena will have spray irrigation and underground drainage.

An existing angled doorway will be enlarged to 12’ x 14’ so riders may enter and exit the ring on horseback and the immediate exterior area will also be covered. A canopy connector from the east entrance of C-Barn to the west entrance of the Coliseum will also be erected.

“For the first time ever, competitors will be able to practice as well as enter and exit the Coliseum entirely under cover,” McCary said.

The project is the result of an extensive study of ESE facilities, conducted in 2010 to assess the needs of existing tenants and look toward future year-round growth. The research included a major engineering study of the Coliseum by Populous of Knoxville, Tenn., and a marketing analysis by AECOM of Washington, DC. The studies assessed the demand for our facilities, the present status and future needs of the current infrastructure.

The Exposition will assume financial responsibility of the project and will receive no funding from the state of Massachusetts. In addition, its 2011 capital budget of more than $1.1 million will include the installation of a new roof and other major improvements to the Coliseum. F-Barn, an auxiliary barn with 100 horse stalls located in the southwest corner of the fairgrounds, will also receive a new, upgraded metal roof.

McCary said, “We are investing in our future to maintain our roots and stay viable in an ever-changing marketplace.”

The design architects for the project are Charlie Smith and David Forkner of Populous, in Knoxville. Neffinger Architects, of West Springfield, will serve as the architect of record.

This winter, contractors will be selected and construction will begin at the end of March. The project will be completed in time for the 2011 Big E in September.

Eastern States Exposition Horse Show dates are: Sept. 14-18 – Hunters & Jumpers, Hunt Seat Equitation, USHJA Zone 1 Finals; Sept. 22-25 – Saddlebreds, Hackneys and Morgans; and Sept. 29-Oct. 2 – ESE Draft Horse Show and $30,000 Showdown.

The Big E takes place Sept. 16 – Oct. 2, 2011 in West Springfield, Mass.