From the obscure food combinations, the iconic midway, a stellar concert lineup, dozens of 4-H competitions, and annual livestock exhibitions, the Schmidt Associates team looks forward to the Indiana State Fair—and with good reason. The fair time means an annual pilgrimage to the Dairy Bar for a grilled cheese sammie and a deep fried Twinkie from a nearby vendor. But it also means a whirl on the state’s largest Ferris wheel, taking in free stage events, and glimpses of baby animals born at the fair.
There’s certainly something for everyone at the fair. But, beyond all the delicious (yet not so nutritious) food and the distinguished landmarks lies a piece of Indiana history that will soon be getting a makeover.
This year’s fair will be the last for spectators and pigs alike to walk through the current “Swine Barn.” That’s because construction is scheduled to begin on a $50 million, 197,000-squre-foot, newly renovated building.
After months of imaginative discussions between Schmidt Associates and the Indiana State Fair Commission leadership, plans began to form. The new building will preserve the historic north façade—with its hand-carved pig details—while the remainder of the facility will be replaced in its entirety.
Unlike the existing open-air barn, the new building will be a four-season, climate-controlled, enclosed facility. Including generous education space and enhanced accessibility, the new and improved “Swine Barn,” will be renamed the “Indiana Farm Bureau Fall Creek Pavilion,” and is the definition of a multi-use building.
Designed with a focus on supporting the unique needs of the swine, the main floor is also able to support large exhibits like the Indiana Flower and Patio Show or Mecum Auto Auctions. Additionally, the building’s structural grid was specifically laid out to allow athletics to occur in the space, including basketball, volleyball, and NCAA Track and Field.
A portion of the facility will reimagine the service, support, and security spaces for the fairgrounds—helping ensure everyone is safe and the historic fairgrounds remain in great condition year-round.
On August 6 while the fair was in full swing, a groundbreaking was hosted with Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and fair leadership. During that ceremony, it was mentioned that there’s nothing better than a day filled with kids and pigs. We couldn’t agree more and are excited for the real work to begin following the close of this year’s fair. Completion is scheduled for 2023.
We are grateful to the Governor and the Indiana State Fairgrounds family for allowing us to serve as architects and engineers on this project.