SMU trustess voting on Bush library

February 21, 2008 5:38:51 PM PST
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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