Though no treasures have (yet) been found, Stapleton resident and Executive Director of the National Western Center Tykus Holloway, says construction at the National Western Center has uncovered a large old safe (empty), old flywheels, stone bricks, and a great deal of scrap iron and metal that he hopes can be reintegrated into the new buildings planned for the National Western Center campus in the years ahead.
After over 110 years, the National Western Stock Show’s home is undergoing an overhaul that will increase visitor and livestock amenities and offer opportunities for greater year-round activities. Phases 1 & 2 of construction began in 2018. Most of the progress to date has been centered on the “site-enabling work” that will prepare the land for the new construction happening after this year’s Stock Show comes to an end in late January. A lot of the 2019 work focused on removing some existing elements. “Across the railroad tracks to the West is where the majority of our construction is focused for Phases 1 and 2…visitors will see some expanded space for the animals and livestock in the yards, and we’ve removed quite a few buildings to prep the land for our vertical development,” says Holloway.
So what is different today is somewhat hidden unless you know what to look for. Currently, railroad tracks run along the South Platte River. They are in the process of being moved and consolidated, making way for open space. “An old train car that was near the saloon…we recently relocated near National Western Drive. We’re storing it for future relocation on the campus,” says Holloway. (And yes, the saloon will remain.)
Construction will be visible, but should not impact the visitor experience, says Holloway. During the Stock Show, he says, the City will “ratchet down quite a bit of our construction activities,” to minimize disruptions to visitors’ experiences. Access, parking, deep-fried concoctions and other key elements of the visitor experience will largely be the same as in previous years, though vendor parking will be modified in 2020.
Once the Stock Show is over, however, construction will again pick up speed, and the first major vertical development will start. “It’s our smallest building and it’s going to be roughly the length of a football field,” says Holloway of the new Stockyard Event Center. This arena, with up to 1,000 seats, will lend itself to community gatherings, seminars, car shows, expositions, and other activities. For more info, visit NationalWesternCenter.com.