Chattanooga History Center nearing completion

Chattanooga History Center nearing completion

May 14th, 2013 by Lindsay Burkholder in Local Regional News

The 19,500-square-foot Chattanooga History Center is scheduled to open this fall at 2 Broad St. on the Aquarium Plaza.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

The Chattanooga History Center soon will be entering the final stage of its transformation.

"When I give myself time to stop and think and really kind of get my head around being in the final stage, it's a little bit frightening," said Daryl Black, the center's executive director.

Construction is expected to be complete in just five weeks, and soon exhibits will grace the freshly painted walls.

Thanks to donations from the community, the center received over $500,000 to help complete the building. With the added funds, the center's goal is just within reach, taking the center's capital campaign to 90 percent of the $10.5 million target.

In March, the Lyndhurst Foundation challenged the community to donate to the center's campaign, pledging to match funds dollar for dollar up to $250,000.

"Lyndhurst really believes that the History Center can complement Chattanooga's cultural institutions and our downtown tourist district," said Karen Rudolph, program officer for Lyndhurst.

The Benwood Foundation contributed $150,000 to the campaign, bringing its total contribution so far to $450,000.

Individual Chattanoogans donated more than $110,000.

"To me, it speaks to how much the community wants this project to succeed and how excited the community is about what we're doing here," Black said.

The funds come at a crucial time in the center's construction. With the physical space nearly finished, Black and a team of designers are creating mock-ups of what the exhibits will look like.

"Right now they're testing to see if the designs spelled out on paper will work in the finished space," Black said.

Once the designs are finalized, crews will begin creating and installing the actual exhibits. The center's doors are expected to open in early 2014.