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The George W. Bush Presidential Center breaks ground at SMU

November 16, 2010


Watch highlights from the groundbreaking.

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More than 3,000 guests filled a massive tent on the site of the George W. Bush Presidential Center to celebrate groundbreaking for the building. Fifteen officials took up shovels to turn dirt, marking the official start of construction, with completion scheduled for 2013.

“Today is another milestone along a timeline that began for us in December 2000, when we began our effort to bring the George W. Bush Presidential Center to the University,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner told the crowd.

“We knew that this Presidential Center would benefit from its association with SMU because of the academic resources, vitality of dialogue and research programs we offer. Having the historic resources of the Library and Museum will provide remarkable opportunities for research… and educational experiences for more than 200,000 K-13 students in the Metroplex,” Turner said.

President Bush welcomed the crowd, saying "To those of you who are not privileged to live in Texas, welcome to the great state. And welcome to one of the finest universities in the whole United States, Southern Methodist." He said the groundbreaking “is an important milestone” and “the beginning of a journey. We take the first step toward the construction of this presidential center, which will be a dynamic hub of ideas and actions based upon timeless principles.”

Participating in the groundbreaking for the Bush President Center were (shown left to right below) David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States; Ray Hunt, co-chair of the Bush Foundation Finance Committee, SMU trustee and chairman of Hunt Oil Company; Caren Prothro – chair of the SMU Board of Trustees; Alan Lowe, director of the Bush Presidential Library and Museum; Robert Stern, architect for the Bush Presidential Center; R. Gerald Turner, president of SMU; Condoleezza Rice, chair of the Bush Institute Advisory Board and former U.S. Secretary of State; George W. Bush; Laura Bush; Dick Cheney, former U.S. Vice President and former SMU trustee; Mark Langdale, president of the George W. Bush Foundation; Don Evans, co-chair of the Bush Foundation Finance Committee and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce; Michael Van Valkenburgh, landscape architect for the Bush Presidential Center; the Rev. Mark Craig, SMU trustee and pastor of Highland Park United Methodist Church; and Jake Torres, SMU student body president.

The Center includes the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the George W. Bush Institute. 

The center will be a modern brick and limestone structure that complements the American Georgian character of the SMU campus. The building and landscape are designed to achieve LEED platinum certification and include numerous sustainable design strategies, including locally sourced building materials (several types of Texas limestone, stained pecan interior paneling), 20 percent recycled materials, solar hot water panels, native landscaping to reduce irrigation and a storm-water management system that conveys, cleanses and collects surface runoff and roof rainwater, and will provide 50 percent of the irrigation needed for the site.

For more information about the George W. Bush Presidential Center, please visit: www.georgewbushcenter.com

Group photo at the Bush Presidential Center groundbreaking

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 includes the archives and museum, and the George W. Bush Institute.
        
  • 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 21" 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 architect Robert A.M. Stern and landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh.
        
  • The general contractor is Manhattan Construction Co., which also built the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.

Meadows Museum Exhibit

Those interested in a glimpse of the future Bush Center are invited to visit a special exhibit at the Meadows Museum on the SMU campus The exhibit includes key artifacts such as the bullhorn used by President Bush at Ground Zero, the baseball he used to throw an opening pitch during the 2001 World Series and the Oscar de la Renta dress worn by Mrs. Bush at the State Dinner honoring Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as well as a number of key papers from the Bush Administration. The exhibit is free and open to the public through February 6, 2011.

A virtual tour of the exhibit by Alan C. Lowe, director of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, is available online.

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