A proposed museum depicting the story of mounted warfare and Central Texas may be opening a year sooner and for about $60 million less than expected.
The National Mounted Warfare Foundation announced Monday it has redesigned the first phase of the Mounted Warrior Museum in a way that should drop the cost from the expected $94.5 million to $27.7 million, thanks to the pro-bono work of Plano-based architecture firm SHW Group and Houston-based Southwest Museum Services, an exhibit, design and fabrication expert.
“These strategic partners really helped us see how we can provide this community with a state-of-the-art structure and 21st century galleries and exhibits, while trimming down the cost of the overall project,” said retired Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, president and CEO of the foundation.
The first phase will include the immediate museum grounds, parking, a memorial area and a playscape for children — all slated to be built near Fort Hood’s main gate, next to the visitor’s center. The next two phases include a walking trail and storage facility.
“Our donors are excited to get the doors open earlier than planned,” said retired Col. Larry Phelps, chief of staff and senior vice president for business development for the foundation.
The new design doesn’t compromise anything while still allowing construction to be completed in 2018, he added.
About one-third of the savings came from moving the storage and curation facility, which requires specialized air filtration, to a later phase, instead of attaching it to the museum’s main building, Phelps said. The museum also will be built using modular construction to create additional savings.
“The sooner we get this open, the less of that World War II generation we lose before we open,” Phelps said. “I’m concerned every day we lose veterans that will never get to see this place.”
Brett Turner, vice president of business operations for Monteith Abstract & Title Co., Inc, a corporate sponsor of the foundation, said he is eager to see the legacy of the men and woman at Fort Hood brought to life by the museum.
“Bell County’s way of life would not be what it is today if it were not for Fort Hood,” he said. “Supporting the National Mounted Warfare Foundation is Monteith’s way of saying thank you to our soldiers, veterans and the community of Fort Hood for all you have done.”
Last year, the title company donated $11,000 to the foundation and, on Monday, pledged to donate $14,000 for this year.