Progress on an American Indian museum in Oklahoma City has gained momentum with an additional $25 million in funding, part of a much larger state bond package agreement reached late last week.
The funding ensures continuation of construction on the American Indian Cultural Center & Museum, east of Interstate 35 along the Oklahoma River. The funds will go toward building:
" two exhibit galleries;
" a central gathering and event space; and
" an East Wing, including a children's center, resource library, art studios, classrooms and administrative offices.
Gena Timberman, executive director of the Native American Cultural & Educational Authority, called the effort "an important milestone" in the "long overdue" project's fruition, in a release.
"Now we can plan to progress construction of a world-class institution," she said.
A welcome center will be the first structure completed, and should be ready in September, according to the release.
At this point, structural steel has been erected and building foundations laid, according to Shoshana Wasserman, director of marketing and public relations, although she said those aspects are "hidden from view" from the interstates.
"It is only when you enter from American Indian Boulevard (formerly Eastern Avenue) that you see the Visitor Center structure and all of the building foundations," she said, in a release.
The $150 million site was slated to open next year, but that date was tabled until base funding could be secured. The complex is intended to become part of a 300-acre park including:
" an arts market and
" conference center.
Fifty million had been committed before May 22's $475 million legislative and gubernatorial bond agreement, which primarily concerns road improvements. Tribes and other private sources will provide the remaining $75 million for the museum. "Emily Jerman