Designed to Increase Visitor Capacity
Joined by Alabama First Lady Patsy Riley and other dignitaries, officials of The American Village announced almost four and a half million dollars in project initiatives on February 18 at groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Southern Living Showcase House. The initiatives are designed to expand the capacity of the education center to serve 100,000 students and 150,000 other visitors each year. Here are highlights:
Southern LivingŪ Showcase House – The President's House
The Southern LivingŪ Showcase House, to be named the James B. and Sylvia S. Braswell President's House,is patterned after the country's first presidential residence (1790-1800). The Southern LivingŪ Showcase House will open by mid-2006, and will serve for one year as Southern LivingŪ magazine's third-such house in its history. It will draw on historical design but will show tens of thousands of visitors how such historical architecture can be the basis of a home for today's families. In mid-2007, the house will be furnished in the period of the late 1700's, and will be used in the American Village's history and civics education program, focusing on the early American republic and the foundations for representative government. The project is made possible by the following gifts and grants:
$500,000 by James B. Braswell of Vestavia Hills, honoring his late wife, Sylvia S. Braswell
$350,000 by Alabama Power Foundation, in support of the house and the educational programming which will take place there, to be titled, "The Alabama Power Living Liberty Experience at The President's House."
The Expanded Visitors Center to Welcome A Quarter Million Visitors Annually
Officials announced public and private funding commitments to welcome an expected 250,000 visitors expected to visit The American Village each year once the expansion is complete. The expanded Visitors Center will feature visitor reception, ticketing, The Estes Family Visitors Orientation Theatre, expanded retail space, a colonial-themed tavern and meeting and conference facilities. In addition, the visitor will find new parking, street, sidewalk, landscaping, and exhibit amenities to facilitate visits by school groups, tour groups, and other visitors. The following grants and gifts were summarized today, others are pending, and it should be noted that some of these are commitments which will be paid over a period of time:
$ 1,000,000 Federal transportation funding announced in December by United States Senator Richard Shelby
$ 300,000 City of Montevallo
$ 400,000 City of Pelham
$ 200,000 James F. Estes and Norman Estes of Northport / Tuscaloosa for the Estes Family Visitor Orientation Theatre
$ 1,500,000 Shelby County
Progress Report: President's Classroom, Oval Office, and Teaching Fund
Also announced, a progress report that $220,000 in funding has been received or committed toward a project to complete a full replica of the Oval Office and to fund teaching programs at The American Village. This part of the campaign is being led by Ed Rogers, a Birmingham native, who now serves as Chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based public affairs firm Barbour, Griffith, and Rogers, which he co-founded with Haley Barbour (who now serves as Governor of Mississippi). Details of these funding commitments will be announced when that phase of the campaign nears completion.