Almost $20 million in improvements and maintenance projects for the Minnesota State Fairground were approved earlier this month by the fair’s board of managers.

The board approved $16.3 million in capital work — $16 million of which is earmarked for a major new exhibit complex on the North End of the fairground, as well as $3.4 million in maintenance projects.

The North End development, which is currently under construction on the fairground, will feature a 12,000-square-foot exhibit hall that will be the fair-time home to annually changing museum-quality exhibits. The North End also will have features that recognize Minnesota innovations in agriculture, industry and the arts, along with uniquely Minnesota attractions, food and commercial exhibits.

Improvements and maintenance projects approved for the coming year include upgrades to the stalling and technology equipment in the Swine Barn; installation of a new overhead cover for the Exercise Ring in the livestock area; improvements to the restrooms in Lee and Rose Warner Coliseum; upgrades to the lighting and fire suppression system in the Department of Natural Resources Building; and dozens of paint, sewer, street and sidewalk and landscape projects throughout the 322-acre state fairground.

All projects will be funded through State Fair operating revenue and grants from the Minnesota State Fair Foundation. The fair is financially self-supporting and receives no government aid of any kind.

The Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world, attracting more than 2 million visitors annually. The 2019 Minnesota State Fair runs Aug. 22 through Labor Day, Sept. 2.