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BALTIMORE, MD-Plans for the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture have taken a step forward with the Maryland Board of Public Works’ recent authorization of a $21.3 million contract for the museum’s construction. Local firm Whiting-Turner Contracting Company will spearhead the building of the 82,000-sf arts facility. The project’s total development cost is estimated to be about $33 million.

“This breathtaking new museum will greatly expand the understanding and preservation of our state’s African American history,” Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening says in a statement announcing the allotment of the funds. “Not only will this facility be the largest of its kind on the East Coast, the museum’s mission is to be the premier resource for information and inspiration about the lives and significant contributions of African Americans.”

Upon completion, the Gallagher & Associates-designed cultural destination will display more than 400 items in its 15,000 sf of exhibition space. There will also be a 200-seat theater, a resource center with audio recording studio, offices, classroom space and room for collection storage. Construction is scheduled to begin in November and will conclude in time for the museum’s spring opening in 2004.

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