Perhaps former President George W. Bush is an avid UnBeige reader and when he learned the other day that Jimmy Carter was preparing to redo his presidential library, he was overcome with a “keeping up with the Jones” sort of mentality and decided that his own, still-in-the-planning library needed to be bigger, bigger, bigger! But even if our brain picture of that situation isn’t entirely correct (we figure Laura would read us more than George), such is the reality, as more details have been released about the new building, designed by Robert A.M. Stern on the Southern Methodist University campus. The library has now grown to a massive 207,000 square feet “akin to an average Wal-Mart Super Center” making it some two-thirds as large as it was originally planned for (the request for a much larger policy center is being stated as the primary cause). Here’s a bit about the growth of the plot of land the multi-story building will sit on:
Some faculty and church members have opposed what they say will be a highly partisan think tank on campus. Bush, who has referred to the center as the Freedom Institute, says it will focus on a broad range of topics, including the promotion of democracy abroad and education reforms.
Library organizers first proposed a 40,000-square-foot policy center and a separate 145,000-square-foot building for the library, museum and storage of Bush documents and artifacts. The National Archives will operate those areas, and the Bush Foundation will be housed in and run the policy center.
The policy institute area now figures at about 66,000 square feet, chiefly because of a larger auditorium and more conference and service space.