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American Indian museum to resume construction after 5 years OKLA H O M A C ITY (AP) - Museum officials said construction of the American Indian Cultural Center & Museum in Oklahoma City may resume as soon as this fall after a decades-long effort to create it. Fundraisers have collected $10.8 million in private donations, the Oklahoman reported. Fundraisers said they' ve collected enough funds to complete and open the museum, as outlined in a 2015 state law. Museum officials approved a pl an to allow the acceptance of the donated money and give Executive Director Blake Wade authority to deposit the money in a state "completion fund." According to Oklahoma City attorney John Michael Williams, depositing the private donations would start the process of issuing state bonds. He said the process would take four to five months. "I predict construction, if things go routinely, construction would start in

October," he said. The private donations are the first installment of the state's $25 million pledge of matching funds to finish the museum. The cost to complete the museum is estimated to be at least $65 million. "This is a milestone resolution, a milestone day," Williams said. The inside of the 162,000-square-foot museum remained mostly unfinished when construction came to a halt five years ago due to insufficient state funding, with the exterior of the museum nearly finished. In 2015, Oklahoma City leaders and t he Chickasaw N a t ion p a r t n ered t o complete and open the museum. Their partnership also includes the development of su r r o u n d in g c o m m ercial property. Currently, the board includes $876,000 into its annual expenses to maintain the facility, secure the site and preserve warranties.

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Confederated Umatilla Journal 02-01-2017