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Bush Library: Groundbreaking Experience

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Bush Library: Groundbreaking Experience
“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.
Bush Library: Groundbreaking Experience
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.
Groundbreaking ceremony
Former VP Dick Cheney, fifth from left, didn't let heart surgery this summer impede his shoveling. The three-story center will feature 14k SF of permanent museum exhibition space, almost 5k SF of temporary exhibit space, an auditorium to seat 353, and a 15-acre park environment on the 25-acre site. The cast-in-place concrete structure will have long-span steel with almost 29k cubic yards of structural concrete included. Landscaping will feature native species including—get the rim shot ready—1,900 shrubs.
George W. Bush, Laura Bush and Don Evans
We snapped 43, First Lady Laura Bush, and former commerce secretary Don Evans in a lighter moment. Laura says women's issues will be among the concerns addressed by the Bush Institute. “The goal of our women's institute is to stand with the women who are determined to carry on their courageous work including political freedom in the Middle East,” she says. Among the ways to address this is to help women become more engaged and educated, and to become participants in their government, business, and civil society. The Institute may also help by delivering integrated health services to expectant mothers to prevent their babies from contracting HIV and malaria, and helping educate the 800M illiterate adults worldwide.
 
Bush Library: Groundbreaking Experience
We caught up with former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer pre-event where he said the presidential library is a historical obligation of the nation's leaders. “With the passage of time, it makes for better analysis, which is an advantage that history brings us,” he says. When we got our two minutes alone with Ari, we quizzed him on the economy and its effects on business. “I'm fascinated by the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission. Taking the prospect of having a tax code with no deductions and no tax rates is exciting for business. I would love to save money like that,” he tells us. “It's thinking outside the box.”