One of the marquee projects coming out of El Paso’s 2012 Quality of Life bonds is on the verge of clearing a final hurdle.
The original proposal to build the El Paso Children’s Museum carried with it a $19 million price tag.
But the project, to go up in downtown El Paso, has steadily increased in cost, as the vision for it has steadily expanded. That vision has, to a large degree, been shaped through a series of public input meetings asking residences for their views on the museum’s look, functionality, and mission.
Last year, three noted architectural firms - TEN Arquitectos of Mexico City, Snohetta of Oslo, Norway; and Koning Eizenberg Architecture of Santa Monica, California - submitted competing concepts of what the museum should look like.
The various ideas presented by those firms premised the idea that the museum should be a fun place, and both airy and educational, with an emphasis on U.S./Mexico border themes.
In the process, the timetable for building the new museum, which originally called for construction to begin this year, has been delayed, while the facility’s estimated cost has increased to $60 million.
It is now hoped that members of the El Paso City Council will sign on to $40 million in public funding for the project, with an additional $20 million coming from private donations raised through the El Paso Community Foundation.
In 2016, the council approved spending $1.2 million to purchase a site for the museum at 201 W. Main Street that was the home of a Greyhound Bus Lines maintenance garage. That facility has since been demolished.
By Garry Boulard
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