Officials are more than two-thirds of the way toward reaching the $36.9 million goal needed to build a new, state-of-the-art museum near Fort Hood’s main gate.
Nearly $25.6 million of that goal has been raised, said Bob Crouch, vice president of the National Mounted Warfare Foundation.
The foundation is a nonprofit tasked with raising the funds to build the Mounted Warrior Museum, a planned 48,000-square-foot facility aimed at safeguarding and displaying the history of military units and soldiers who have served at Fort Hood.
Not all of the $25 million is in the form of cash or pledges. About $10 million of it is the value of the 65 acres where the proposed museum will sit, near the Fort Hood visitors center overlooking U.S. Highway 190. The land was provided by Fort Hood.
The museum has been redesigned from three stories to one in order to handle large exhibit pieces, such as tanks, at the request of the Center for Military History — which is in charge of all Army museums, Crouch said.
The museum will include galleries, classrooms, a store and military-like simulators where visitors can experience what it feels like to drive a tank or pilot an Army helicopter. It will have a conference center capability.
“The design is efficient and allows for 75 percent of the square feet to be dedicated to exhibitry,” Crouch said. “Most museums are lucky to have 40 percent of their space dedicated to exhibits and are considered to be doing well if they have 50 percent.”
In addition to memorializing the many units and soldiers who at one time called Fort Hood home, the museum also will be a go-to destination for visitors and could attract thousands of others annually to the Killeen-Fort Hood area, foundation officials said.
The museum is expected to bring in $5 million per year to the local economy, said retired Lt. Gen. Paul “Butch” Funk Sr., the foundation’s president and CEO.
“We think we might be able to break ground about one year from now,” Funk said last week.
To donate or find out more information about the Mounted Warrior Museum, go to nmwfoundation.org.