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Construction on planned American Indian museum at least 2 years away from completion


OKLAHOMA CITY — Officials estimate that construction on the planned American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City is at least two years away from being finished.

An Oklahoma City Council committee on Tuesday also concluded that another year will be needed to install Smithsonian Institution-quality exhibits.

City Manager Jim Couch said $90 million of the original $170 million project budget already has been spent, leaving an $80 million gap. The state has offered to loan $25 million to the city; private interest groups, such as Native American tribes, have pledged $31 million; and City Hall has agreed to front $9 million.

City officials are trying to figure out how to cover the remaining $15 million to complete the center and whether the large project will work as originally envisioned, The Journal Record ( ) reported.

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits President and CEO Marnie Taylor said there were some companies that said they couldn't make a new commitment currently, given their financial standing, but that she said "all previous commitments of regular giving are continuing unabated." She said a downturn in the oil and gas industry has put a damper on the expansion of corporate gift giving.

Others say they're unsure if they can find a corporate sponsor to help fund ongoing operations at the planned museum. Couch said the philanthropic well has been tapped dry.

"The private sector has been great, but they've already done more than enough," he said.

Information from: The Journal Record,

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