Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bush Library: Groundbreaking Experience

From Real Estate BISNOW....


“Its time to turn dirt,” announced the 43rd President of the United States during a groundbreaking yesterday at his presidential library on the SMU campus in Dallas. We were honored to be there to capture the pomp and excitement.

Pres. George W. Bush
Braving the Secret Service security checks, we snapped this of 43. The former president says that the George W. Bush Presidential Center stands as a reminder that sometimes doing what is necessary is not popular. “Through the triumphs and sorrows—the good days and the bad—the decisions we made together were guided by certain principles," he says. "Free markets are the best way to empower individuals at home and enable people to get out of poverty; and you can spend your money better than the government can spend your money.” Of course, we bet what really excites him is the center is aiming LEED Platinum.

Mark Penny and Bob Bowen
The center will include: a library to house records, from e-mails to official documents; a museum complete with a replica of the oval office; and a research institute. Manhattan Construction Co project exec Mark Penny and Dallas division EVP Bob Bowen tell us construction begins today, with costs projected at $137M. Manhattan built the elder Bush’s library at Texas A&M, Bob tells us, and worked with GW on the construction of the Ballpark at Arlington, when he was the Rangers managing partner. “This has been a tremendously collaborative effort,” Bob notes. Manhattan has spent the past two years planning with the architect, Robert A.M. Stern (dean of the Yale School of Architecture), and landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, Mark says.

Rendered above, it will open in spring 2013. Mark says it's an aggressive schedule, but the design is complete; the bid process is out and in the process of being awarded. Key mechanical/electrical subs have been on the job for six months (working with BIM) to resolve issues before construction starts, he adds. This is the first presidential library post 9/11, so Mark says security measures (like blast-resistant skin) are incorporated in the project. The building is designed for 100-plus years, with lots of stone and brick to blend in with SMU’s campus.