More than seven years after El Paso voters approved $5.7 million for its funding, plans are now underway for the construction of the city’s long-anticipated Mexican American Cultural Center.
The City of El Paso has issued a Request for Proposals for a combined project that will see the building of the new facility as well as the renovation of the El Paso Public Library’s headquarters located at 501 N. Oregon Street.
The library work will see the reconfiguring of meeting and exhibit space within a 100,000 square foot building that was originally opened in the fall of 1954.
That work will be followed by the building of the 47,000 square foot cultural center, which will go up adjacent to the library in the Cleveland Square Park just off E. Franklin Avenue.
Regarded as a signature project, the cultural center will be designed to provide residents and visitors with an exhibition and performance space celebrating El Paso’s diverse Mexican-American heritage and history.
The cultural center will include an auditorium, exhibit space, and both artist and dance studios, along with the building of a 15,000 square foot exterior plaza.
The $5.7 million designated to be used for the library and cultural center projects was part of the significantly larger $473 million Quality of Life Bonds approved for a variety of public facility projects in the fall of 2012.
Last year, members of the El Paso City Council agreed to approve an additional $15 million in funding for the combined library and cultural center work.
According to city officials, the actual work on both projects is expected to launch next year.
Submission deadline for the RFP is December 18.
By Garry Boulard
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