Fargodome Planning Expansion Project - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Fargodome Planning Expansion Project

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Big plans could be coming for the Fargodome. It will be the first major expansion in more than ten years, and could total more than $15 million.

While only in the preliminary stages, the Fargodome could be adding a nearly 50-thousand square feet.

The talks have been around for a little more than six months. In the past couple weeks, though, some ideas finally made it to paper.

Fargodome General Manager Rob Sobolik says, "One of the things that we feel is possibly lacking in the city of Fargo is a large continuous exhibit space." Though Sobolik says the ideas are just the beginning.

"We still have to go through the process of if 50-thousand square feet is the right number. Should it be 30? should it be 40?" says Sobolik.

There are plenty of challenges to overcome as well.

Sobolik says, "One of the major hurdles is looking at what are the different possible funding sources."

He says the Fargodome Authority could give half of it's $34 million budget surplus, but nothing is certain.

Other challenges would be proving there is a need for the space and figuring out the final location and layout.

"So many different things are out there yet plans are so preliminary it's really a little too early in the process. It is too early in the process," says Sobolik.

But what would the new facility mean to the Fargo-Moorhead area?

Charley Johnson, President and CEO of the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitor's Bureau says, "It's always helpful to have more convention space that you can offer to groups."

Johnson notes there are great options already for big conferences, though, more business to the community means more short term economic development.

"First of all you know they're gonna have hotel rooms, and then you also know they're gonna eat, and they're probably going to shop," says Johnson.

That is where planning for the future becomes a present task for Sobolik.

He says, "Yes, we focus all the time on today's events, tomorrow's events, the events next month, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years down the road, but we also have to be looking at the trends or where we think things are going to go."

Sobolik says the next steps are to run the ideas through the Fargodome Authority and talk to the Fargo City Commission.

From there he hopes to start a feasibility study to continue moving the project forward.

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