Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, state legislators and other officials on April 20 shoveled the first scoops of dirt from the ground where a multipurpose pavilion will be built at the Southeastern N.C. Agricultural Center in Lumberton.
The 54,000-square-foot building will be flexible enough to host everything from trade shows to horse and livestock events.
The enclosed, metal building will feature heating and air conditioning, restrooms, show and ticket offices and a 240-foot by 135-foot show ring. It will have a seating capacity of about 900 for horse and livestock shows.
The pavilion represents an investment of nearly $5 million, with funding provided by the General Assembly and the Golden LEAF Foundation.
If there was a theme for the groundbreaking, it was partnership. During an hour-long ceremony that at times felt like an old-time tent revival, speakers repeatedly mentioned how partnership between local and state officials and private citizens is helping to make the pavilion a reality.
Troxler said the new addition will help the center become an economic engine for the region. “I’m not talking about a lawnmower engine,” he said. “I’m talking about about a big diesel engine.”
Other speakers included Dan Gerlach, president of the Golden LEAF Foundation; former Sen. David Weinstein, who helped obtain state funding for the building; Sen. Michael Walters; Reps. Ronnie Sutton, Garland Pierce and Doug Yongue; and Robeson County Commissioners Chairman Noah Woods.
The center is scheduled for completion next year.