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City issues $20m debt to fund new El Paso children’s museum

KEA Franklin El Paso Children's Museum

The City of El Paso has issued $20 million debt to fund the new El Paso children’s museum. Costs for the project have tripled over the last six years of planning.

The museum is now set to cost $60 million but the city believes it is “building for the future” and has agreed to cover the extra costs. The new debt, alongside the original $19.25 million bond allocation, will bring the city’s contribution to just under $40 million. The remaining $20 million is likely to be raised from the private sector. The city council this week voted to issue $20 million worth of certificates of obligation. The vote was very nearly unanimous with only one vote against the proposal.

The new children’s museum will be located in the heart of El Paso’s Downtown Arts District. The area already houses the El Paso Museum of Art, the Museum of History and many other arts venues, artist lofts, stadiums and a convention centre.

Dr Paul Kortenaar has been named Executive Director of the new museum. “Working with the entire community, we will create a phenomenal destination where exploration and experimentation lead to discovery and learning,” he said. “A uniquely El Paso museum that helps families understand and navigate a rapidly changing world, while helping children imagine their future within it.”

Architects selected via a public competition

The museum board invited three architecture companies to submit concepts for the El Paso children’s museum building. The public voted for their favourite design at the end of last year. The architects shortlisted are Koning Eizenberg from Santa Monica, California; Snohetta from Oslo, Norway; and TEN Arquitectos from Mexico City. The winner will partner with a local architecture firm to build the museum.

The museum is expected to be completed in early 2022.

Image: Koning Eizenberg

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