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UPDATE: $44 million upgrade unveiled for state fairgrounds

OKLAHOMA CITY – Residents nearby and visitors to the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds are getting a first look at multimillion dollar upgrades that were unveiled as a part of MAPS3.

The $44 million improvements include a brand new expo hall.

Joe Gioscia said, “I’m always a proponent of growth.”

Gioscia is visiting from San Diego to take part in the annual Quarter Horse Association Show at the fairgrounds.

“The plans look amazing,” said Tamra Kyle.  “The whole fairgrounds, it’s been fun to watch it evolve.”

The new expo center will replace the old Travel and Transportation building and Carriage Hall.

It will also take up most of the parking lot, which normally houses the Midway carnival.

Gioscia said, “I believe once the new building is finished, it’ll bring more dollars and more people to the facility.”

Tim O’Toole, the president of the fairgrounds, said, “We’ll be able to improve the property to a level we’ve never been before.”

At 200,000-square-feet of exhibit space, officials say the expo hall will be the largest building at the fairgrounds and attract business the city has never had.

O’Toole said, “Not only will it allow shows we already have to consolidate but it’ll also attract shows that have never considered Oklahoma City as a market.”

Construction on the new expo hall is slated to begin in October 2014 and take 18 months to complete.

While the building is under construction, the Midway will be displaced to the site of the old dirt race track along May Ave.