WWII Museum Expansion Goes Large Scale

20 February 2013

New Orleans City Business checks in on the progress of expansion projects at the National World War II Museum. The recently completed U.S. Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, constructed by Woodward Design+Build, displays planes used in the war and provides space for event rentals and corporate parties.

WWII Museum Expansion Goes Large Scale

New Orleans City Business

14 February 2013

By: Tommy Santora, Contributing Writer

Editor’s note: The following information comes from the upcoming “2013 Top Construction Jobs” report that will be published Feb. 22. It includes progress updates on major projects that span multiple years.

When Bob Farnsworth, senior vice president of capital projects for The National World War II Museum, said “We think big here,” he wasn’t kidding.

Six World War II fighter planes, including a 15-ton Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress” bomber, were rigged to suspend from the ceiling of the museum’s recently opened $35 million, four-story U.S. Freedom Pavilion: Boeing Center, that the Voorsanger Mathes architectural firm designed and Woodward Design+Build constructed.

Visitors can view the planes from the floor and also from three levels of walkways, the highest of which allows a view from above. Along the walkways are displays that show a 360-degree view of each cockpit and stories from airmen who flew each type of airplane.

Farnsworth said the pavilion was also designed for event rentals and corporate parties. The museum had about $500,000 in rentals in the month after the pavilion opened, including an NFL Hall of Fame luncheon during Super Bowl week.

“It is designed to be a versatile space, and I think that’s the trending model for successful museums, to mix educational exhibits with exciting events and find state-of-the-art ways to engage people and educate them at the same time,” he said.

The Freedom Pavilion is part of The National World War II Museum’s $325 million capital campaign, “The Road to Victory: A Vision for Future Generations,” started in 2005 and scheduled to be complete in 2016.

A $20 million Department of Defense grant and a $15 million grant from Boeing paid for the pavilion’s construction.

In addition to the Freedom Pavilion, other finished phases include the E. J. Ourso Discovery Hall, Solomon Victory Theater, the Stage Door Canteen entertainment venue, American Sector restaurant and John E. Kushner Restoration Pavilion. Plans also include a Campaign of Courage Pavilion, Liberation Pavilion and a possible 165-room hotel next to a new parking facility across the street from the Magazine Street side of the museum.

Farnsworth said the museum, which attracts more than 400,000 visitors per year, is working to raise about $100 million to pay for the remainder of the capital projects.

J.T. Livaccari, Brice Building’s project superintendent for the Campaign Pavilion, said the biggest challenge is to construct the project in a limited space without interrupting the continuing activities of a “very busy museum that is open seven days a week.”

“The way we are conquering this challenge is constant communication and daily scheduling with the whole project team,” Livaccari said.

National World War II Museum
Project description: a multiphase campaign to quadruple the size of the original museum
Cost: $325 million
Start date: March 2005
Expected completion date: 2016
Peak construction employment: 125
Owner/developer: The National World War II Museum
Project manager: The National World War II Museum; Bob Farnsworth, senior vice president of capital projects
General contractor: Woodward Design+Build (Freedom Pavilion); Brice Building Co. (Campaign Pavilion)
Subcontractors: The Solomon Group; Atherton Pictures; The Taylor Group; Explus Inc.; Gandolfo Kuhn; Arrow Termite & Pest Control Co.; United Site Services of Mississippi; Williams Contractors and Construction Services; Phoenix Constructors; Boh Brothers; CMC Rebar; M&M Concrete Services; Ruth Masonry; Gate Precast Co.; Postel Industries; Tate Ornamental; Central City Millworks; Calmar Corp.; Apex of Louisiana; Marsh Waterproofing; National Panel Systems; Zinsel Glass & Mirror; Himmel’s Architectural Door & Hardware; Commercial Painting Co.; Morris Drywall Systems; Flooring Depot & Commercial Floors; Kone Inc.; Avallone Door Co.; Mechanical Construction Co.; Millicent Fayard; CCR Fire Protection; Frischhertz Electric Co.

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