With the raising of a fence, work will soon begin on the new Lawton Farmers Market Institute.

Before construction can actually begin on the new 2.8 million, 7,600-square-foot facility near downtown Lawton in the Ware District, crews must first demolish the parking lot standing in their way, said Ryan Donnelly, superintendent of the project for Herring Construction Wednesday.

“Within a day we’ll have this area completely fenced off then we can begin demolition early next week,” Donnelly said. “Depending on the weather, that could take a few weeks, but construction should be completed within a year.”

Donnelly said his company is excited to be running the project but even more excited that construction is bringing jobs to Lawton.

“Most every contractor is local to Lawton,” Donnelly said. “I think more than 95 percent of the people working on this are local. I can’t wait for the time when we can look at this and say, ‘Lawton built this.’”

Currently the Lawton Farmer’s Market rotates between its winter location, inside Cameron University’s Plant Sciences building, and its summer venue at the Great Plains Coliseum. The new facility will provide a permanent location for the group and allow them to have a place year round where they can utilize both indoors and outdoors. The new facility will also allow the market to open twice per week during summer instead of just one day.

Construction was initially set to begin in summer, but a combination of COVID-19 and higher than expected construction costs forced the group to resubmit plans to the city, {span}Market President Edward Legako{/span} said. Construction is expected to be completed in November 2021.

The new construction is privately funded through donations, including grants from the Terry K. Bell Foundation and the McMahon Foundation.

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