Could Texas Tech be Home to Bush's Presidential Library? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/17/04

Could Texas Tech be Home to Bush's Presidential Library?

The buzz is Texas Tech University is in the running to be the home of George W. Bush's Presidential Library, but Tech shares aspirations with six other Texas colleges and cities. They include:

  • Baylor University in Waco, near the Bush ranch.
  • Southern Methodist University, Laura Bush's alma mater.
  • The University of Texas in Austin, where the first lady earned her master's degree and Jenna Bush's alma mater. UT is also home to the Lyndon B. Johnson Library.
  • Texas A&M in College Station, home to George Bush Senior's presidential library.
  • Midland College, near Bush's childhood home.
  • The city of Arlington where the President was managing partner of the Texas Rangers baseball team.

So, the burning question is: What are Tech's chances? It all boils down to money. Tech is in the running, but they are not actively pursuing a bid. Texas Tech Spokesperson, Sally Post, says, "They're looking at a minimum of $200 million for construction, for the operating endowment, and to make sure the thing is done well and $200 million is an awful lot of money. Especially when we need money like that for scholarships and research."

Tech may not be able to afford a presidential library right now, but if the President insisted, they'd still love to have his. Post says, "He's a West Texas boy. He spent so much of his career and his life in Midland and this area and he has great friends out here and of course it would be lovely to have the library here because of his roots."

So, Texas Tech can't afford it and the city doesn't have the money in the budget, so if we still want a presidential library in Lubbock, there's only one way. Mayor Marc McDougal says, "All that money is going to have to come from private donations." Meaning fundraising. A small amount could feasibly come from the Convention and Visitors Bureau budget, but certainly nowhere near $200 million. The mayor says, "I think efforts are going to have to get started and the funds raised quickly now to get a package put together to secure it."

Mayor McDougal says it's a longshot but the President's West Texas ties are strong and there are people who might spearhead an effort to bring his presidential library to Lubbock. He says, "There's been some talk in the community about that. We'll have to wait and see what happens in the next few months."

When George Bush Senior was in town last year, he responded to questions about his son's presidential library by saying Laura will make the final decision.

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