The Pendleton Round-Up centennial grandstand project will be completed for the rodeo’s 100-year celebration in September. It is a project that organizers say has been long overdue.
WC Construction of Elgin oversees about $8 million of work on the $9.5 million project. - VICKY PEARCE photos
Local contractors WC Construction of Elgin won the $8 million contract to replace the west section of the grandstand. The project has been attempted several times but never got past planning stages due to the size and cost — until now.
“Economically, this is a very costly and big project. We’ve known we had to do it, just hadn’t had the dollars,’’ Pendleton Round-Up President Randy Severe said. “Now, we are very happy with progression of the project, and it will be in place for the next 100 years.”
Bob Wiles, co-owner of WC Construction with Dennis Cross, said, “We competed against a local firm from Pendleton and two others from the Portland area. WC Construction was awarded a CM/GC (construction manager/general contractor) contract with the Pendleton Round-Up. The total project is $9.5 million with WC Construction responsible for about $8 million.”
The demolition and earth work began just after the 2009 Round-Up, giving WC Construction less than one year to complete the project.
“WC Construction uses very little of its own forces to build the grandstands. Our job is to hire sub-contractors and manage the project. We have included as many local subcontractors as feasible. This project will have employed over 100 workers directly, and indirectly it affects many more,” Wiles said.
“I think a positive impact of this project is employing many people at a time when our economy is struggling and our employment rates are down,” Wiles said. “And second, the centennial grandstand project is a huge step for the Pendleton Round-Up and should affect the local economy for years to come. I believe a lot of local people don’t realize how big the Round-Up really is.”
The Pendleton Round-Up is one of the top 10 rodeos in the country, pumping $20 million annually into the rural wheat, cattle and manufacturing economy.
At the grounds, about 8,000 of the 17,000 seats are being replaced with roofed seating. Now more than half of the seats will be covered for the rodeo and events.
“The new covered grandstands will consist of walkways, restrooms, concession areas and stock pens on the ground level,’’ Wiles said. “Bleachers will be constructed from the track up to a mezzanine level and then from the mezzanine level on up. The mezzanine level will include many more restrooms and enclosed concession areas. There will be a bridge that spans the track entrance to access the north grandstands.
“The project also includes a much-needed improvement to site utilities including larger city water main line for better fire protection and a 2,000-amp electrical service to better address the power needs of the grounds.”
Severe said two things made the project possible.
“The Round-Up proceeds have generated more money and the downturn in the economy caused the cost of the construction and supplies to go down. We can do the project now cheaper than we could’ve two years ago,” Severe said.
Wiles said his company “feels very fortunate to be able to be a part of this awesome project.”
Wiles and Cross have worked as partners for nearly 30 years. They incorporated WC in 1986.
Wiles and Cross say they’ve enjoyed living in Elgin and say they feel very fortunate to have been able to raise their families in a small, rural community.
For more about the Pendleton Round-Up, visit www.pendletonroundup.com.