Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center fencing improvements underway

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
Poles for a new fence are being installed along the south side of the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center campus.

Many Shawnee residents may notice lately new fencing is being installed at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center as part of some much-needed improvements.

Spectra's head over the expo, General Manager Katy Fleming said in October there were several projects gearing up at the campus, including a fence-removal and replacement project.

“The Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center is a hub for activities in this area and constantly growing,” she said. “We struggle with keeping the property secure, as well as the overall image.”

The project is a bit unique due to the different types of fencing and the clients using the fence area, she said.

RJ Fencing and Decks, of Wellston, was awarded a contract in October for the project, which was bid at $266,032.50. The work was estimated to take about two months to complete.

Fleming said part of the improvements include larger reinforced entry gates.

“The ones we had coming off Independence, if you know this, people would strike them with their vehicles of we tried to lock them up,” she said.

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A gate and fencing have been installed along the east side of the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center campus.

Recent upgrades

Many other projects have been done, are underway or are planned to be in the works soon.

Fleming, who took over as manager at the expo in April, said since her arrival new laundry facilities have been put in place.

“We have already paid for one of those sets in two months,” she said. “So, that's been a really great investment, thus far.”

She said the expo also has new sinks in the grandstands.

“When I arrived there were no sinks in the grandstand bathrooms,” she said. “That was a big deal.”

She said the roof on the crow's nest has been extended.

“That was something that had been expressed to me from everyone involved with the IFYR; they wanted to see that,” she said. “That got done right as the rodeo got started, so, we did need that.”

Fleming also said secure internet access is out there now, as well.

Poles for a new fence line the south side of the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center campus.

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“We upgraded and revised food options,” she said, in response to negative online reviews.

“We now have a local vendor for burgers, called Ralph's, out of Perkins,” she said. “We can't keep them in stock, we actually had to make a run for them over the weekend because they just keep flying out, so that's really great.”

Another addition to expo offerings is an online reservation system.

“We have had substantial increase in revenue for that, so that's been wonderful,” she said.

The expo now has a full-time housekeeper for the bathrooms and general housekeeping for the grounds, she said.

“We finalized overnight security,” she said.

A fence was put up around the shop area to cover up eye-sores, she said.

Watch for updates.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.

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