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Final Beam in Place as George W. Bush Presidential Center Gives Public a Sneak Peek Into Its Building and Programs
President and Mrs. George W. Bush today hosted guests on the site of the George W. Bush Presidential Center for a hardhat tour and “Topping Out” ceremony. The ceremony provided the first and only look at the construction of the Bush Center in advance of the grand opening, which is expected in the spring of 2013. The Bush Center is America’s 13th presidential library complex.
At the ceremony, President Bush delivered brief remarks to invited guests, including members of the construction team, in appreciation of the hard work being done on the Center.
“Our hope is that this will be a center of excellence not only to benefit SMU but Dallas, the United States and the rest of the world,” said former President George W. Bush. “I am looking forward to breaking bread with the fine members of the construction team and personally thanking each of them.”
Mrs. Bush participated in the “hard hat” tour explaining its unique and environmentally friendly construction and design.
“The building itself will have LEED Platinum status, partly due to the water retention and collection we will use to irrigate the land surrounding the building,” said former First Lady Laura Bush. “Local materials will be used on the exterior and interior of the building to help us achieve our LEED Platinum certification.”
The building’s architect, Robert A.M. Stern, also joined President and Mrs. Bush to discuss the contemporary and welcoming architecture that the buildings will have using the same Texas brick and limestone used throughout SMU’s campus, which he has described as one of our nation's most beautiful and architecturally coherent. He also further discussed the project’s goal of LEED Platinum certification, the highest green rating. Senior members of the Bush Center leadership and design team joined the hardhat tour to shed light on other details throughout the construction site.
“Intended as an inviting and approachable building, the Bush Center is designed to express the dignity of the Presidency and President Bush's legacy as a Texan, an American, and a world statesman,” said Mr. Stern. Among the constellation of presidential libraries, this is the first to have a truly urban location, which is integral to its environmental goals. I salute the men and women who are working to realize our vision."
The building is being constructed by Manhattan Construction, which also built the Texas Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas, named for the 41st President of the United States.
"Manhattan is thrilled to be celebrating this major milestone just 10 short months after breaking ground," said Bob Bowen, executive vice president of Manhattan Construction. "We are honored to build the structure that will serve as a hub for promoting universal freedom. Today, we congratulate the workers for their efforts on this project and look forward to starting the construction of the exterior envelope to assure that the interior development commences early 2012.
Well before the final beam was put in place, the Bush Center has been actively engaged in a number of efforts through the George W. Bush Institute, the innovation policy arm of the Center. The Institute, which focuses on four core areas: human freedom, educational reform, global health, and economic growth, has recently made major announcements in the area of global health and education reform. In September, the Institute launched Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, a groundbreaking global health effort to expand critically needed breast and cervical cancer interventions in sub-Saharan Africa. Just last week, the Institute launched the Global Report Card, which compares student achievement in U.S. school districts with academic achievement in other developed countries.
Facts about the George W. Bush Presidential Center:
•The Bush Center will sit on a 23-acre lot on the campus of SMU in Dallas, Texas, and include the George W. Bush Library, which houses the archives and museum, and the George W. Bush Institute.
•The 226,565 square foot building is designed to achieve LEED platinum certification, the first Presidential Library to do so.
•A number of sustainable design elements have been incorporated into the design, including regionally-sourced materials such as Texas limestone and stained pecan interior paneling.
•The design includes a 15-acre urban park featuring native landscaping and includes a rainwater collection system that will provide 50 percent of the irrigation needed.
•The site will feature a Texas Rose Garden, possessing the same proportions, solar orientation, and formal organization as the White House Rose Garden.
•The Archives for President Bush, the first President of the 21st Century, contain 80 terabytes of digital information, including 200 million e-mails.
•There are more than 43,000 artifacts from the Bush Administration on file with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
•The Bush Institute already has active fellows working in the areas of human freedom, education reform, global health, and economic growth.
•The Bush Center was designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP, and its landscape by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.
•The general contractor is Manhattan Construction Co., which also built the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.
A live webcam of the site provides a regular view of construction progress at: