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New Estimates Expand Expo's Costs

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The Brazos County Commissioners' Court is taking the next step in what has been a long walk towards their Expo Center. The word Wednesday as they interviewed construction managers: it'll cost even more.

"Right now, we've got an estimated budget from one of the construction managers that interviewed with us today," said county judge Randy Sims, "and we're about 12 percent over budget right now of what they think they can build the project for."

It's the project that doesn't seem to want to get off the ground, and the face of which continues to change.

Here's what's not included in the current plan that was part of the original design. The biggest piece of the puzzle won't be built right off the bat, but the nearly-6,000 seat coliseum could come later down the road. Cutting costs also means cutting air conditioning from the rodeo arena.

What's left is still significant: the rodeo arena, an assembly hall almost two times as big as the Brazos Center, and two buildings for horse stalls and livestock housing.

Of the $18.5 million bond issue from the year 2000, $15.5 million is left. And Tuesday, the commissioners' court approved $10.5 million of general obligation funds for the project.

As talk of a hotel-convention center in College Station continues, and with the Brazos Center and Tabor Road Arena, Sims still says the Expo Center has its place. "In our community, I think some of our citizens in Brazos County would like to have some meeting place that they can use from time to time," he said, "and we certainly are going to try to keep the costs down for them to use some of these facilities."

Rising construction costs forced plans to be redone for the facility. Those plans should be done by October, and a construction manager at risk will likely be selected soon.