Thursday, April 13, 2000

Museum adds to its space

Riverfront project gets builders

BY Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center officials have taken two steps forward and one step back — as in back to the drawing board.

        Museum Director John Fleming announced the selection of a team of local firms to oversee construction of the $44 million building. Retired Procter & Gamble engineer Henry Brown will manage the building project.

        The step back is necessary because the building's size has increased from 30,000 to 44,000 square feet, and working out the design details will delay the groundbreaking and opening by about two months.

        The museum is to open in 2003.

        Mr. Fleming said the added space will be put to good use: Three additional exhibits are being planned. There also have been some minor changes to the building's exterior and the 2-acre park outside the front door.

        “We'll have three changing galleries which can hold anything that relates to the museum's theme, whether it's artwork, sculpture, photos, textiles or three-dimensional exhibits,” Mr. Fleming said.

        The Freedom Center's purpose is to celebrate the courage of the Underground Railroad, a secret network that aided slaves seeking freedom.

        The construction team building the museum will consist of Megen Construction, Dugan & Meyers Construction, The Brown Organization and Parsons Brinckerhoff.

        The team will be responsible for all aspects of project coordination, such as reviewing architectural plans, performing cost analyses, purchasing materials and hiring subcontractors.

        Evans Nwankwo, president of Megen Construction, said he is ecstatic to play a role in what he called a “historic project.”

        “It is a unique privilege for our company to bring history alive and forever change the path of freedom and understanding,” he said.


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