Oklahoma Indian Museum Suspends Construction
Jeff Raymond, Oklahoma Impact Team
OKLAHOMA CITY – Construction will halt July 1 on the half-finished American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, its leaders said Thursday.
They vowed to continue trying to raise money to finish the $171 million project.
The museum's backers said they will run out of money for construction at that time, although they have enough funds on hand to continue to pay the museum's nine-person staff, which costs approximately $52,000 a month. The museum's builder will provide upkeep and security services on a month-to-month basis in the interim.
The project stalled after legislators refused to issue an additional $40 million in bonds for the museum. Some legislators criticized the museum's overall cost and spending.
"I thought it was our time this last month, but we're going to have to wait until it is our time," said Blake Wade, the executive director of the state agency that oversees the museum.
Wade said donors who pledged $40 million in recent months would honor their pledges through the end of the 2013 legislative session should the state come up with matching funds. He said museum backers would continue to push for completion.
"Let's not forget, the (state Capitol) dome took 85 years, and it got completed," he said.
The state already has spent $63.4 million in bonds on the museum. Overall, the museum has spent $91 million.