Mar­shals mu­seum gets a shovel date

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - ARKANSAS - DAVE HUGHES

FORT SMITH — Con­struc­tion of the 50,000-square-foot U.S. Mar­shals Mu­seum is sched­uled to be­gin June 21, the pres­i­dent and CEO of the mu­seum said Tues­day.

Pa­trick Weeks told the mu­seum’s board of di­rec­tors that the mu­seum foun­da­tion has raised enough in cash and pledges, $31.5 mil­lion, to be­gin con­struc­tion on the U.S. Mar­shals Ser­vice’s na­tional mu­seum on the banks of the Arkansas River.

The board passed two res­o­lu­tions at its quar­terly meet­ing Tues­day. One was to au­tho­rize the start of con­struc­tion. The other was to be­gin de­sign de­vel­op­ment for the ex­hibits.

Mu­seum of­fi­cials will meet this week with con­struc­tion man­ager CDI Con­trac­tors Inc. of Lit­tle Rock to get the com­pany’s guar­an­teed max­i­mum price on build­ing the mu­seum.

“You should see by the time the first of June comes around a bunch of ants over on the hill,” Weeks said.

Ac­tiv­ity will be­gin on site in late April or early May to­ward prepa­ra­tion of the foun­da­tion, and con­trac­tors will be­gin to mo­bi­lize for the con­struc­tion work. Weeks said work will con­tinue un­til open­ing day, Sept. 24, 2019, which marks the 230th an­niver­sary of the U.S. Mar­shals Ser­vice.

The schematic de­sign for the ex­hibits has been com­pleted, but the de­sign de­vel­op­ment must be com­pleted be­fore pro­duc­tion can be­gin in July.

Weeks said the ex­hibit pro­duc­tion will be the sec­ond most ex­pen­sive part of the project, about $10 mil­lion, af­ter con­struc­tion of the build­ing.

Ex­hibit de­signer Thinkwell Group of Los An­ge­les will pro­vide de­tailed de­sign draw­ings and de­scrip­tions of all project el­e­ments “so every­one in­volved knows just what to do, how to do it and what it will cost.”

Weeks said the $31.5 mil­lion will cover such things as the cost of build­ing the mu­seum, fin­ish­ing de­sign work, ar­chi­tec­tural fees and run­ning mu­seum of­fices.

That leaves $19.4 mil­lion yet to raise, Weeks told board mem­bers, not­ing that fig­ure was down from $33 mil­lion needed 18 months ago.

The mu­seum foun­da­tion is not eas­ing up on rais­ing the re­main­ing money, foun­da­tion Pres­i­dent Jim Dunn said.

In ad­di­tion to con­tin­ued fundrais­ing work, he said he ex­pects the mu­seum to draw in­vestors through the gov­ern­ment’s new mar­ket tax cred­its pro­gram that is gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity

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