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Obama Presidential Center Breaks Ground
August 19, 2021 -
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After years of delays and lawsuits, construction on the Obama Presidential Center has finally begun in Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago.
The complex has an estimated construction cost of $700 million, and will include several buildings, as well as gardens and green spaces. The centerpiece facility will be the 235-foot high Museum building that will tower above Jackson Park. The project also includes a Forum building and Plaza that will include an auditorium, a broadcast and recording studio, meeting spaces, and other facilities designed to bring the community together. The project also includes a new branch of the Chicago Public Library.
The facility actually will not be an official presidential library, however. That’s because it won’t house President Obama’s official papers, which are managed by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Obama decided against the official designation in 2017 to avoid NARA design and security requirements which would’ve added 60 percent to the cost of the project.
According to the Obama Foundation, all buildings in the complex will be designed to meet LEED Platinum standards, as well as SITES Silver, and the International Living Future Institute’s Zero Energy standard.
Greg Zimmerman is deputy editor, Facility Market.