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August 11, 2000

Governor and First Lady Unveil New Design for Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan and First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan today unveiled a revised design for the planned Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum that includes suggestions made by the public.

In addition, the Ryans announced that the state will spend $14.4 million from federal discretionary funding for historic sites to rehabilitate Springfield's century-old Union Station as a welcoming center for the Library and Museum complex. Union Station sits directly west of the museum site.

"The changes to the museum and library were based on suggestions and comments we've collected from people in Springfield and across Illinois," the governor said. "Union Station is the perfect setting for a welcoming center that will help visitors find their way around Mr. Lincoln's Springfield."

"This new design makes the Presidential Library and Museum a better fit for the city that Lincoln called home," Mrs. Ryan added.

Drawings of the revised design for the $115 million museum and library complex are being displayed at the Illinois State Fair in the First Lady's Tent.

The original design's glass dome and undulating rooflines have been replaced by two flat-topped, glass-enclosed atriums and horizontal rooflines reminiscent of the Illinois prairie.

The structure still features large columns and a rough exterior that will integrate the complex well with the surrounding historic district in downtown Springfield.

Union Station will be completely renovated to serve as a welcome center for visitors to the Library and Museum. The clock tower, removed decades ago, will be reconstructed and a 500-vehicle underground parking ramp will be built underneath Union Park in front of the station. Union Station currently houses administrative offices for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum features separate buildings for the library and museum joined by a second story walkway. The library and archives building will house the State of Illinois' world-famous Lincoln collection and serve as the new home of the Illinois State Historical Library. The library will also include multi-purpose rooms for conferences and meetings, in addition to all of the amenities in a modern, world-class research library. Groundbreaking for the Library is tentatively scheduled for February 2001, with completion set for late in 2002.

Construction on the museum and visitor center should begin during 2002. BRC Imagination Arts of Burbank, California, is designing interactive museum exhibits that will help visitors experience Lincoln's life and times. The museum also includes two theatres, space for visiting exhibitions, children's play area, a restaurant and a gift shop.

The complex is being designed by Gyo Obata of Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum of St. Louis and will be administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

Governor Ryan has allocated $50 million in state funding from the Illinois FIRST program for the project. The City of Springfield has allocated $10 million. To date, a total of $2.7 million in funding has been approved by the federal government. The state is actively seeking increased federal support as well as private contributions.


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