The 2023 Kent County Youth Fair (KCYF) opens its gates in a few weeks with the inaugural fair hosted on the new fairgrounds, built by Wolverine Building Group. KCYF is a non-profit organization training young people in the science, business, and future of farming. It nurtures interest in the environment, cultivates character, and grows independent leadership skills in an annual event drawing an audience from across the state. It’s STEM with a literal application.
This year, they celebrate their plan coming together.
Senior Project Manager, Jon Reimink, thinks the fairground project illustrates the power of Wolverine’s approach to planning. “Each step of this project needs thought and intention. How will the building be used now, alongside how can we best use it in the future,” Reimink says. “We’ve adapted the plan, focused our schedule, and made decisions based on collective goals. Now we’re positioned to achieve the final result this organization dreamed of and will become a destination for events of all kinds.”
It wasn’t all bunnies and butterflies; the project has encountered some interesting turns.
For Wolverine, the project began as a partnership. A conversation over coffee with our Senior Project Manager, Jim Chambers, (who also happens to run a pig farm!) brought the seed to sprout. From sitework to the barn raising, Wolverine has walked side by side with the board of directors, volunteers, and construction partners to ensure that growth was on pace.
Turn 1: Protecting the natural world. While submitting site plans for construction, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy determined that the wetlands in the center of the property would need to be preserved.
Solution: Reworking site plans with the board, project managers and suppliers to protect the wetlands space, while maximizing the remaining space for the full vision of the original goals of the KCYF. Our team moved forward trusting the plan would be approved, because the values of the organization include honoring and preserving the natural environment. As predicted, this site change was approved and the project team was able to stay on time.
Turn 2: Where would the 2023 Fair take place? For decades, the fair has occurred in deteriorating buildings often flooded by extreme weather events. With the new property and construction now underway, the board decided in March of 2023 they needed to be ready to host the next fair on the new property.
Solution: The Wolverine project team revised the schedule to accelerate construction on the essential buildings to host the upcoming fair in the new fairgrounds. “In collaboration with the fair board and staff, the additional effort to push forward was overcome by the above and beyond effort of the dedicated volunteers committed to give the kids the experience they deserve,” said Reimink.
“We could not have asked for a better construction partner than Wolverine,” said Kristi Caine, Capital Campaign Director for KCYF. “They have been really with us, understanding us since day one. We absolutely could not have achieved this without them.”
Wolverine Building Group has rooted itself in the vision of Kent County Youth Fair because our purpose “Positively Impacting People and Communities” plants our team deeply alongside our clients. Our project managers, superintendents, steel crews, painters and carpenters lead by guiding. They build what lasts: relationships. Our work is more than construction, it’s dedication to our client’s vision.