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Nordby Exhibit Hall taking shape

Pictured is a rendering of the Nordby Exhibit Hall, the future home for 4-H exhibits and competitions at the South Dakota State Fair grounds in Huron. (Rendering courtesy of the South Dakota State Fair Foundation)1 / 3
Pictured is a rendering of the Nordby Exhibit Hall, the future home for 4-H exhibits and competitions at the South Dakota State Fair grounds in Huron. (Rendering courtesy of the South Dakota State Fair Foundation)2 / 3
Pictured is a rendering of the Nordby Exhibit Hall, the future home for 4-H exhibits and competitions at the South Dakota State Fair grounds in Huron. (Rendering courtesy of the South Dakota State Fair Foundation)3 / 3

HURON — An exhibit hall on the state fairgrounds is on track for completion before the fair begins.

The Nordby Exhibit Hall, the future home for 4-H exhibits and competitions at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron, is slated for completion by mid-July, according to State Fair Manager Peggy Besch.

The hall is named after the late Earl Nordby, who died Tuesday morning. Nordby, a strong supporter of youth programs in the Mitchell and Huron region, donated $1.5 million to support the $4.7 million project.

"I honestly don't think without his support that we would have gotten it off the ground," Besch said.

Nordby's name is included on the building, but Besch said he will be honored with a space on an interior wall, as well.

Besch said the steel walls on the south and east sides of the building have been set up, and progress is being made on the west wall. The roof was expected to be lifted this week, but the project may have been delayed from Monday's snowstorm.

"It's exciting to see some development there," Besch said.

When completed, the Nordby Exhibit Hall will be a 48,000-square-foot facility with a 30,000-square-foot exhibit area, capable of holding up to 4,000 people. The rest of the space will be filled by classrooms and office areas, as the building will serve as the permanent home for State Fair and Beadle County 4-H administrators.

The structure could also be utilized for meetings, conventions, weddings, receptions, concerts and barrel racing, Besch said, and groups have already shown interest in renting the space.

So far, the State Fair has raised $4.27 million for the construction, but officials hope to reach their financial goal though an engraved-brick donation campaign, according to Kathryn Henning with the South Dakota State Fair Foundation.

Henning said people can donate $1,000 to the project, which can be paid off over three years, and the State Fair will engrave their name or the name of a family member, business or other entity onto a 9-by-6-by-3-inch brick.

So far, about 500 bricks will be engraved, but that does not include bricks that will be included to recognize current 4-H members. The bricks will be installed somewhere outside the Nordby Exhibit Hall, but a design or construction plan has not yet been created.

"We're excited to help everyone commemorate their names on the fairgrounds," Henning said. "It's kind of the last piece of the puzzle of construction."

Henning said the State Fair needs about 470 more bricks to reach its goal.

Activities for 4-H used to have a home in 4-H Clover Hall, but the building was demolished a few years ago because it was in "disarray," Besch said, having potential electrical and mold issues.

4-H exhibits were moved into the Huron National Guard's Armory and Younger Hall, both on the fairgrounds, but the space was too small to accommodate all the 4-H contributors. State Fair officials even had to limit the number of entries that 4-H participants could submit, Besch said, and food demonstrations were moved in the high school.

This year's State Fair opens on Sept. 1 with a preview day on Aug. 31. Besch said fair officials intend to use the Nordy Exhibit Hall as the home of all 4-H activities this year and will have an official opening during this year's event.

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