Work on various improvements at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds may be getting underway by the end of the month.

Right now, the biggest issue facing the project is working around the upcoming Nueces County Junior Livestock Show in January, said John Michael, with Naismith Engineering. The two-week event brings thousands of youth and their families from around the state into Robstown every year and is one of the larger livestock shows in the state.

As a result, the work schedule of the fairgrounds' improvements will be broken down into three different improvement packages or phases, Michael said.

The first improvement package includes the installation of air conditioning at Exhibit Hall A. Engineers are currently working on plans for the project, which should be completed by Aug. 24. Bids will be received by Sept. 10 and the project is tentatively scheduled for completion by Dec. 18.

A new paved area just west of Exhibit Hall A will also be installed, Michael said, along with the addition of new sidewalks to ease foot traffic.

"Our thought is let's get the things done that we can get done that will make the Junior Livestock Show a little bit easier to accommodate (attendees)," Michael said.

Improvement package two will include the installation of new locker rooms, showers and changing areas for the sporting events housed in the Central Pavilion Aena. This will be housed in a stand-alone building just east of Exhibit Hall B, Michael said. The project may be completed by Feb. 25, right before the Indoor Football League and the Corpus Christi Hammerheads begin play in March.

The third package will have the construction of new parking lots, recreational vehicle areas and landscaping. The county should be ready to receive bids by Dec. 1 and work may begin as soon as the NCJLS ends in January. Work may be completed in August 2010, Michael said.

The Nueces County Commissioners Court approved $6.9 million in improvements to the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds in May, a move commissioners have said they hope will eventually bring an increase in revenue to the facility.

In a Feb. 4 meeting, the commissioners held a split vote in which they cancelled plans for a proposed Heritage Center and reallocated $5.3 million of that funding to other fairground projects.

In their March 25 meeting, the county commissioners revisited the costs of individual projects already considered, and approved $1.58 million in additional items.

Items originally approved by the court included additional parking, a 10,000 square foot air conditioned storage facility, parking and utility hook ups for 75 recreational vehicles, landscaping, penning equipment and fencing. Also approved was a roof extension to the existing Equestrian Center, at a cost of $631,344.

The court added a number of items to that list last week, including perimeter lighting for the roadway around the facility, portable bleachers, a pavement and covered walkway for the new storage facility, a locker room and a marquee.

The addition of those items brings the total cost of improvements to the fairgrounds to $6.9 million.