SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Ozark Empire Fairgrounds and Event Center (OEFEC) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Arena and Youth Ag Education Center.

According to OEFEC’s press release, the new Arena and Youth Ag Education Center will serve the community as an entertainment venue, event site, and educational facility. The 99,000-square-foot arena will include seating for 6,600 visitors, which is triple the seating capacity of OEFEC’s former facility.

The new arena will also feature a restaurant and a VIP room on the upper mezzanine. The lower-level will contain a 10,000-square-foot Youth Ag Education Center and a 10,000-square-foot trade show space.

“This new arena, coupled with other construction and improvements in recent years, will solidify our position as one of the finest entertainment venues in not only the Springfield area, but the entire Midwest,” OEFEC General Manager Aaron Owen, stated. “It will be perfect for fair use, rodeos, horse shows and junior national livestock expositions, tradeshows, motorsports, sporting events, and concerts.”

The Youth Education Center will partner with local schools to offer year-round agriculture
education. Additionally, the facility will provide space for crisis response and training,
including COVID-19 vaccinations and testing.

OEFEC is projecting an estimated $123 million in local economic impact over the next 20 years.

The arena is aimed to be completed by September 2023.