El Paso

Working budget for El Paso Children's Museum balloons to $60 million

Children's Museum Budget

EL PASO, Texas - The working budget for El Paso's future children museum has ballooned to nearly $60 million, according to El Paso Community Foundation President Eric Pearson. That's about $40 million dollars more than the original budget projected in 2012. 

The museum is one of the signature projects voters approved in 2012 as part of the $473 million Quality of Life Bond. $19 million was set aside for it. 

"When we actually conducted real research and due diligence on what it takes to do a world class children's museum we found a vastly different number than what the city had originally approved," Pearson said. 

Pearson said the going rate is about $1,000 to $1,100 per square foot. 

He said the community foundation is in the process of asking the city for an additional $20 million. He said the community foundation and the non-profit El Paso Children's Museum will pledge to raise $20 million.

Back in 2012, the El Paso Community Foundation was not part of the original plan to help fund the museum. In 2016, the non-profit jumped in to help. 

"We offered," Pearson said. "It was basically 3 dads and we formed a non-profit that will actually run the museum instead of the city of El Paso. We decided we wanted to add a layer of excellence on top of what had been approved because we knew that wouldn't be enough. We just didn't know how much." 

Pearson said they realized there was no way to do it with $19 million. 

"We went and said, if we were going to do a world class museum and do it well and attract people from the region, U.S., Juarez and Chihuahua and Mexico City to come to this museum and enjoy themselves and make it a real economic driver what do we have to spend? And that's what we came up with." 

Three award-winning, internationally recognized architect firms are vying to design the museum.

The board that oversees the future museum wants your help choosing its potential design. The design chosen won't be exactly what the museum will look like. Museum officials say they'll use it as inspiration when creating the final product.

The three renowned architecture firms include: Koning Eizenberg Architecture based in Santa Monica, California, Snohetta based in Oslo, Norway and New York City, and TEN Arquitectos based in Mexico City and New York City.

Voting begins Tuesday. To vote click here.

ABC-7 reached out to the city for comment and is waiting to hear back. 

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