Final Agreement for George W. Bush's Presidential Library Expected Today

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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.