New $24 Million Digs

11:35PM Sep 29, 2014
( Jim Dickrell )

New Holland pavilions provide first-class living space for Expo’s first-class dairy cattle.

World-class dairy cattle deserve world-class living accommodations. And that’s what the elite dairy cattle coming to World Dairy Expo (WDE) now have thanks to two, new multi-use pavilions constructed on the Alliant Energy Center grounds earlier this year.

"We’re confident these state-of-the-art, modern facilities will enhance the World Dairy Expo experience for everyone involved ¬– the exhibitors, other attendees and the cattle themselves," says Scott Bentley, WDE general manager. "We’re excited about the possibilities this opens up for showcasing all of the elite dairy cattle that are a centerpiece of our show."

Officially called the "New Holland Pavilions at the Alliant Energy Center," the new facilities replace nine barns that have been built on the grounds over the past four decades.

"The old barns were added at different times as events here grew in size," says Ann Marie Magnochi, Expo’s Dairy Cattle Show Manager. "As a result, there was a lot of variability in the layout of the campus. The new facilities will be consistent from front to back. People attending Expo will have a much more streamlined experience."

Some of the highlights:

• Pavilion 1 is 90,000 sq. ft. and features a mezzanine level and pre-function space, concessions, restrooms with showers, livestock stalls, wash bays, and more. Pavilion 2, measuring 200,000 square feet, has more livestock stalls and restrooms with showers, and also houses a 2-by-12, walk-through BouMatic milking parlor. Together, the two pavilions will provide more than enough space for the 2,500 animals participating in Expo’s cattle shows. In fact, the total capacity of the buildings is 3,500 cattle. Having the pavilions in place also frees up 650 additional parking spaces on the grounds since the two large tents previously used to house cattle are no longer needed.
• Airflow and ventilation in the new buildings are controlled via a state-of-the-art, positive-pressure system. "The improved air quality will be one of the first things people notice when they step inside the new buildings," says Magnochi. "There isn’t any air conditioning. But the new system provides extremely efficient air exchange rates."
• Wash-racks and covered manure storage areas line the north and south outside walls. "Things are set up so that the farthest anyone will have to push a wheel barrow to dump manure or lead a cow to the wash rack is 150 feet," Magnochi explains, adding that wash-space has increased by 50%. "Overall it will be a cleaner, tidier environment with easier access. It will provide much better working space for exhibitors. And it will be a lot more inviting for spectators."
• Modular cattle stalling systems in the facility feature lightweight, metal cattle panels (custom manufactured by Sioux Steel in Sioux Falls, S.D.) . A channel running along the top of each panel will make it much more convenient for cattle exhibitors to run water hoses and extension cords for things like lights and fitting equipment. "Exhibitors won’t need to spend lots of time running cords here and there and jerry-rigging equipment anymore. They can leave the duct tape at home."
• A covered walkway runs the length of both buildings. "If you want to go from a stall in the very back corner of Pavilion 2 to the front of Pavilion 1 and it’s raining, you can make the entire trip under a roof (excluding the open span between the two pavilions)," says Magnochi. "If it’s a hot, sunny day, you’ll have some shade."
• A wide, center aisle running from east to west in both buildings will lead to a more enjoyable experience for exhibitors and spectators alike. "Among other things, it will be a lot easier to find a specific animal or show-string that you want to see (see "Find Your Favorite Cow" below). You won’t have to zig-zag through a bunch of crowded aisles or go traipsing from barn to barn. This will be a lot more user-friendly."

A housing task force, made up of cattle exhibitors, dairy cattle show superintendents and WDE staff was assembled to establish objective, sound and sustainable criteria for animal and exhibitor stalling and housing.

"We felt it was important to get the input of the people who would be using the buildings day in and day out during Expo," says Magnochi. "The committee has looked at feed and bedding storage needs, developed protocols for checking animals in and out and addressed stall criteria and distribution."

Total cost of the new facilities was nearly $24 million. Partners in funding the project included Dane County, the State of Wisconsin, World Dairy Expo, Midwest Horse Fair/Wisconsin Horse Council, Centerplate, New Holland and BouMatic.