(Times Record (Fort Smith, AR) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) June 11--The U.S. Marshals Museum budget was approved by the museum board on Tuesday and will include funding for architecture and exhibit design for the museum.
Museum President and CEO Jim Dunn revealed the $3.5 million budget for the next fiscal year, which begins in July, noting portions of the budgeted money would be spent on exhibit design and architectural contracts.
The exhibit design contract has been awarded to Brent Johnson Design of Boston. Dunn said the museum is in contract negotiations with Polk Stanley Wilcox of Little Rock and Cambridge, Mass.-based Cambridge Seven and Associates, the architecture firms that will work in conjunction with one another to design the museum.
Beyond the $2.7 million in design fees included in next year's budget, $768,000 has been earmarked for operational expenses.
Dunn said the marketing budget has increased this year to a sum of $138,500, primarily to market the commemorative coin program and overall museum promotion.
Board treasurer Sam T. Sicard pointed out that April's year-to-date expenses are below budget by about $86,000, at $372,882 compared to the $459,468 budget. He noted that the reason for the gap was the museum budgeted for staffing that has not yet been hired.
Carl Caulk, board member and Marshals Service assistant director, provided an update on the commemorative coins that will honor the 225th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Marshals Service.
He said he expected the design of the coin to be released within the next 30 days and hoped samples were ready by late 2014.
During a building committee report, committee chairman Rick Griffin told the board that once contract details with the architect are finalized, architectural work can begin. He mentioned that there may be a flow easement issue with the Army Corps of Engineers that could cause the building site to be moved back to the east slightly, but he said they committee was working with the Corps to get the issue resolved.
The panel was also updated on ideas for the Trail of Tears monument to be placed at the museum's site.
After discussions with representatives of the five civilized tribes, Edwin Marshall, Muscogee (Creek) Nation chief of staff, who serves as the Five Civilized Tribes representative on the Marshals Museum Board of Directors, said the representatives would like the monument to symbolize a generic light horse, the name given by the Five Civilized Tribes of the United States to their mounted police force. Marshall said the representatives will meet again in July and invited interested board members to the discussion.
Board Chairman James Spears spoke of the economic impact the museum will have on the area.
"This is going to be an economic development engine," Spears said after the meeting. "This is going to be one piece in the overall economic plan we have in this region."
In other business, the board approved the nominations of existing members and officers to additional terms and approved the nominations of Joe Byrd and William Hines to board positions.
Byrd is a senior partner at JC Watts Partners consulting group. Hines is senior vice president of Arvest Bank. Spears said the museum was looking to hire a new vice president, following the May resignation of Jessica Hayes, who left the museum to become the director of the Montessori School of Fort Smith.
Prior to adjournment, Dunn delivered his executive report and said although the museum has already generated an estimated $14.1 million through fundraising to reach the capital goal of $50 million, it is imperative that the museum continue its fundraising efforts.
Dunn also pointed to new market tax credits for partial funding of the museum, which he said could bring in nearly $10 million, adding that the museum is also expecting up to $5 million in anticipated revenue from sales of the commemorative coins.
"We still have a lot of money to raise," Dunn said. "We must continue our march to raise funding. It sounds huge, but I am optimistic we will reach our goal."
Museum officials are expected to hold a ceremonial groundbreaking on the project in September. The museum is projected to open in 2017.
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