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Milestone #5: Put the final beam in place at the George W. Bush Presidential Center This October we celebrated our topping-out ceremony to commemorate the placement of the highest point on the building’s structure – fittingly, at Freedom Hall. President and Mrs. Bush hosted more than 400 guests, including the construction crew, on the site of the George W. Bush Presidential Center for a hardhat tour for the media and “Topping Out” ceremony.At the ceremony, President Bush delivered brief remarks 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 hardhat tour explaining its unique and environmentally friendly construction and design. Over 70 journalists attended the topping out, including the Dallas Morning News, The New York Daily News, KERA Public Radio, the Associated Press and all local Dallas television stations. Broadcast coverage of the topping out ceremony was picked up by over 200 television stations across the country, including Fox News and CNN. “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. Did You Know? •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 Center was designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP, and its landscape by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. Check out the live webcam to keep an eye on the construction progress!
Hannah Abney directs strategic communications and messaging for the George W. Bush Presidential Center, leading a team responsible for developing and implementing communication strategies that help advance the Bush Center’s work in developing leaders, fostering policy, and taking action to save and change lives.
Prior to joining the Bush Center, she led public relations activities for consumer and non-profit brands at The Richards Group. Abney also led communications efforts at a national retail trade association in Washington, DC, and served in the George W. Bush Administration in the Vice President’s Office.
A native of Milwaukee, WI, she is a graduate of the Southern Methodist University (B.A., Music) and lives in Dallas with her husband and young sons.Full Bio