Opening of OKC bombing museum delayed three months

Friday, August 25th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A museum that will be part of the Oklahoma City National Memorial will open three months later than expected, memorial officials say.

Difficulties with the renovation of the bomb-damaged Journal Record Building will push the museum's opening from mid-November to Feb. 17, Memorial Trust Chairman Robert M. Johnson said Thursday.

"We are very, very pleased that the building is being preserved ... and there is no more appropriate place for the memorial center," Johnson told The Daily Oklahoman. "But as with any historic building, particularly one ravaged by a bombing, there comes surprises once the work begins."

Problems included unexpected areas of asbestos and lead-based paint contamination, and a May decision by the building owner to use Trigen-provided heating and cooling services.

Other issues affecting the opening are an anticipated late arrival for an elevator and the need for a temperature-controlled, dust-free environment before museum exhibits can be installed.

Johnson said memorial officials aren't angry about the delay.

"No one is at fault, and we are very pleased with how the project is proceeding," he said. "I think everybody is moving forward earnestly, giving us the very best work available. But some complexities with an older building just can't be avoided."

The museum will be on three floors inside the Journal Record Building's west end. Visitors will be able to hear the bomb blast and learn more about the victims of the April 1995 attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.