National Western capital campaign gets $10 million jump from Gary-Williams Energy founder

As seen in the Denver Post Here.

NWSS on hunt for $100 million to build four keystone buildings as complex expands

Philanthropists Ron and Cille Williams have seeded the $1 billion transformation of the National Western Stock Show‘s grounds with a $10 million gift to the NWSS Honoring the Legacy capital campaign.

“Let’s go build something,” Ron, who made his mark in the oil and gas business as an owner of Gary-Williams Energy, told a crowd that gathered Tuesday for an unveiling of a model of the 100,000 square foot Legacy Building, the National Western’s planned headquarters.

The $100 million campaign will fund construction of four major new facilities planned to anchor the City of Denver’s plan to overhaul and expand the National Western Center: The Legacy Building, the stockyards, the livestock center and the equestrian center.

The stockyards will be named in the Williams’s honor in perpetuity.

“Ron and Cille’s gift represents a big step toward making the National Western Center vision a reality,” said Molson Coors Brewing Company chairman Pete Coors, who is leading the capital campaign.

Denver, Colorado State University and the Western Stock Show Association, which puts on the stock show, are partners in expanding the complex into a 250-acre, year-round tourism, event, education and agricultural center.

When completed it will be “critically important for Denver for the next 100 years,” Mayor Michael Hancock said Tuesday.

Neighborhoods that border the complex, Globeville and Elyria-Swansea will benefit from having it as a neighbor, Hancock said.

Construction is expected to begin early next year when the city bids out a mega-contract for much of the site-clearing and road-building work.

A “baseline schedule” projects the first two phases will be complete by 2024, instead of taking the full decade that had been projected, reducing the build out to seven years instead of 10.

​The estimated project total has decreased in recent months to $1 billion from nearly $1.1 billion, including funding for the equestrian and livestock centers and stockyards.

Several changes to the site plan reduced the city-directed portion of the project to $765 million from $856 million.

While the NWSS is fundraising for the Legacy Building, it also must finish raising $50 million toward the city-led projects first under a framework agreement approved by the partners.

Colorado State University has received $200 million in state funding for its contributions to the Stock Show campus, which include an equine sports medicine clinic and the CSU Center.