When the sprawling 15-acre George W. Bush Presidential Center opens in Dallas, Texas on May 1, it will become the second largest presidential library and museum complex in the country, surpassed only by the Reagan library – which was constructed before Congress passed a measure that encouraged restricted size limits of presidential libraries.
The Bush Foundation raised far more money for the center than expected, bringing in $500 million instead of an projected $300 million, though only half of those funds were used. The Dallas Morning News reports that most of the remaining money went, as legally required, to the federal government or to Southern Methodist University, on whose campus the center was built.
At 226,560 square feet, the Bush Center is larger, but also more advanced that most of its predecessors, complete with LED screens, interactive exhibits and a LEED Platinum certification for all of its green elements. Seventy million pages of text records are contained inside the single Georgian-style building perched upon a campus hill.
The center wasn't always meant to look the way it does. The Dallas Morning News reported in 2009 that the library, museum and policy institute were supposed to exist as separate buildings but later evolved into a single, massive center. The policy institute is also two-thirds larger than originally intended, with a bigger auditorium, conference and service space.
For a sneak peek of the massive center that tells the 43rd president's story, check out the live webcam from campus. Or watch a timelapse of how the complex was constructed, which was shared with Whispers by EarthCam.net, a service that picks up live webcam content from across the world.