DALLAS (AP) -- More than a year after being named the lone
finalist to host George W. Bush's presidential library, the wait is
almost over for Southern Methodist University.
SMU trustees are to vote Friday on the final agreement with the
Bush Foundation, and the official announcement is expected after
that, Taylor Griffin, a spokesman for the presidential library site
selection committee, said Thursday.
SMU has been negotiating with the library committee on various
issues since the 11,000-student private university was named the
only finalist for the library, museum and public policy institute
14 months ago.
"We believe all of this is culminating in an agreement that's
positive for Dallas and the entire Metroplex," Brad Cheves, SMU's
vice president for external affairs and development, said Thursday.
The SMU board's upcoming vote was first reported by Dallas-Fort
Worth television station KTVT.
SMU is Laura Bush's alma mater, and last year the president said
he was leaning toward SMU.
But the process wasn't easy or smooth. Some faculty members
tried to stop the project in several votes last year, citing their
opposition to the think tank that will further the Bush's
administration's views and be under the foundation's control -- not
SMU's. And a group of Methodist ministers launched an online
petition drive that garnered about 11,000 signatures from those
opposing the library project at SMU.
The university also had to overcome several hurdles, including
receiving approval by a Methodist council for SMU to lease land for
the library, which happened last spring.
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