UNIVERSITY PARK — Those connected to the George W. Bush Presidential Center say it's going to be unique — not like other presidential libraries.
The final design for the library and museum will be formally unveiled Wednesday on the SMU campus. Still a year away from groundbreaking, this is first chance to see what is planned for the center.
Elaborate scale models of the center were on display, providing a 3-D perspective.
"We've been working really hard to come up with a design that reflects the American Georgian architecture of the SMU campus but also the unique aspects of a presidential library and museum," explained Mark Langdale, president of the Bush Foundation.
In an exclusive interview with The Dallas Morning News, former first lady Laura Bush describes the center as being a showcase for exhibits — not a monument to the 43rd president.
She said the 225,000 square foot building will not only house her husband's presidential papers, but will include exhibit space; a small auditorium; and classrooms for a policy institute.
Upstairs, George W. and Laura Bush will have their own office spaces along with a dining room and living area for entertaining museum guests.
"Laura Bush really wanted to maximize the green space with the landscaping, and Michael Van Valkenburgh's firm has done a great job in creating what I think will become a priceless urban park, or oasis," Langdale said.
There are still a few obstacles to be overcome before construction can begin. SMU continues work to settle a four-year lawsuit over a parcel of land needed for the library.
The Bush Foundation, which has already helped raise an estimated $200 million for the project, is trying to get University Park to rezone the property — no easy feat, with neighbors concerned about parking issues and traffic congestion.
The foundation is hoping to raise an additional $300 million in time for the groundbreaking.