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Carlisle-area Army museum advances

Construction will begin in 2009 on a visitors’ center for an
Army museum-complex in Cumberland
County.

Construction will begin in 2009 on a visitors’ center for an
Army museum-complex in Cumberland
County. Supporters of the
museum-complex, the Army Heritage and Education Center,
had been racing against the clock to get the visitors’ center off the ground.

R.S. Mowery & Sons Inc. of Cumberland County
will build the first stage of the center, which will include a museum gallery,
meeting space and a museum store. The project will cost about $11 million, down
from earlier estimates that ranged between $14 million and $16 million.

“It helps provide Central Pennsylvania with additional
resources to bring visitors to our area,” said Mike Perry, executive director
of the foundation raising the money for the Army Heritage and Education Center.
“We can link in with Gettysburg, we can link in
with Harrisburg
facilities, Hersheypark, to make this a real destination for visitors.”

The foundation will use $10.3 million in state funding for
the visitors’ center, Perry said. Construction is expected to begin by August
2009 and to last about one year. The Army Heritage and Education Center
also plans to start work in 2009 on a conservation facility, which is being
funded by the federal government.

In recent months, the foundation had come under pressure to
increase fundraising and get the visitors’ center project finalized. The cost
of the project was brought down by falling commodity prices and engineering
changes, Perry said. The overall cost to complete the Army Heritage and Education Center could end up between $60 million
and $100 million, depending on prices and the scope of the project, he said.

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