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GETTYSBURG, PA-The Gettysburg Foundation has significantly expanded and enhanced its objectives for preservation and renovation of the Gettysburg National Military Park, which includes construction of a new 139,000-sf visitor center and museum. As a result, the initial $95-million fund-raising campaign has risen to $125 million, and the five-year project has turned into a seven-year timeline.

The new site encompasses 97 acres. Two existing buildings will be removed to allow that portion of the battlefield site to be restored to its 1863 appearance. The new building will contain the restored Cyclorama painting that a spokeswoman says is “longer than a football field;” a visitors’ center, 11 galleries, a library/reading room, refreshment area, storage facilities and a parking area that does not intrude on the battlefield space. The site is scheduled to open in spring 2008.

Buffalo-based M&T Bank Corp. is underwriting a $20-million bond financing package for the project and is also providing a $10-million line of credit to the foundation. “The bonds are currently being re-marketed by M&T to investors,” an M&T spokesman tells GlobeSt.com, and the line of credit is available to cover project costs as they arise.

In addition, M&T has made a $250,000 contribution to the project. The commonwealth has contributed $20 million, and the federal government has committed $12 million. The latter is devoted to conservation of the 365-foot Cyclorama painting, which includes the reproduction of portions that have been missing for 40 years.

The campaign has now raised in excess of $93 million, primarily from private donations. “The project is expected to cost $103 million,” a spokeswoman for the Gettysburg Foundation tells GlobeSt.com. The remainder covers an endowment to maintain the facility and additional related preservation projects.

The budget expansion came from “conscious decisions,” says the spokeswoman. Among them are building standards to qualify for LEEDs certification. York-based SSC Designs is the architect. Additional funding will allow for the development of additional land that was acquired from the National Park Services. “There was no precedent for conserving the Cyclorama,” she says, and that cost has doubled from an initial estimate of $5.5 million to $11.2 million.

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