Newseum Opening Delayed Until 2008

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By: Joe Strupp The long-anticipated new home for the Newseum, slated for an October opening, will be a bit longer, according to The Washington Post, which reports it will now be delayed until at least 2008.

"Museum officials confirmed yesterday that, because of what they described as delayed construction deadlines, the $435 million project will not" meet its original opening day, the Post reported.

Charles L. Overby, Newseum chief executive officer, told the Post, "We are aiming for a formal opening in the first quarter of next year. We now have assurances that they will be done by the end of the year. We think they will be done by the end of November. Yet, having been burned once, we are holding up on setting a grand opening."

The Post attributed the delay to the "complexity of the building and the final installation of state-of-the-art electronics that has to be done after the general contractor, Turner Construction, is finished."

"We always knew it was going to be challenging," William Brennan, executive vice president of Turner, told the paper. "The museum folks are journalists and are not used to building buildings every day. They are fine-tuning the physical product to get exactly what they want." He said the company would be "out of there by mid-September."

Overby called the schedule change "a minor inconvenience. Yes, I'm annoyed that I didn't put more time into [the time frame between the construction completion and the opening]. Everyone we have informed has been understanding. People would be far more annoyed if they came on October 15 and it was only three-quarters done."

The seven-story building has 643,000 square feet, with the museum occupying 250,000 square feet and 70,000 square feet for exhibits. It also includes apartments and a restaurant.

At least one organization, Associated Press Managing Editors, was especially looking forward to the October opening, tying it extensively to the group?s annual conference, set for that week in Washington.

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