No Second Presidential Library for A&M

By: KBTX Staff
By: KBTX Staff

Texas A&M University will not be home to the George W. Bush presidential library.

The head of the library selection committee confirmed that the city of Arlington, University of Texas System, and Texas A&M are out of the running.

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents declined requests for an on camera or telephone interview.

Chairman John D. White, in a written statement, said, "While we are, of course, disappointed, we are extremely proud and honored to be one of the few college campuses to host a presidential library -- the library of President Bush's father, George H. W. Bush, the 41st president. Presidential libraries are precious commodities. Although we had hoped to be the first institution to host two, we are respectful of the President's decision to locate his library elsewhere in our great State of Texas."

Other local leaders also expressed their dismay that the current president won't join his father with a library in the area.

"I can't say I'm happy about it, of course," said College Station Mayor Ron Silvia. "I'm totally disappointed."

"I think he missed an opportunity to connect the uniqueness of two great presidencies in one community," said Royce Hickman of the B/CS Chamber of Commerce.

"A&M's my alma mater, and so it would have been uniquely exciting to have presidential libraries for father and son here," said Congressman Chet Edwards, who also represents the Waco area.

Representatives in that city still hold hope for hosting the current president's future library. Baylor joined the University of Dallas, SMU and Texas Tech in the final four, with that round tipping off next month with presentations in Washington.

"We are just focusing on Baylor and profiling Baylor in the best light and not leaving out something that might be important," said Tommye Lou Baker, Baylor's chief of staff.

"I hope the Waco area gets it," Edwards said. "Between Austin, Waco and College Station, it would make a great trip for historians to come and look at three great presidential libraries."

The state capital is the home to President Lyndon Baines Johnson's library.

A&M submitted it's formal proposal to the White House a month ago. It included the library and museum, a conference center, public policy institute, a family retreat center, and even the area's first IMAX theater. Three different sites at the university were offered for the president's choosing, all of which were in close proximity to his father's library.

The four finalists will make oral presentations of their proposals in Washington next month. The cost to build the library is estimated between $200 and $300 million.

The president and First Lady Laura Bush will have the final decision.


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