SOMERS — Not even two years since plans for the project were first announced to the public, the first construction of the Pritzker Military Archives Center is progressing.
The archival center is part of the first phase of development of the Pritzker Military Archives & Memorial Park on the 288-acre site located along Highway E west of 100th Avenue and east of I-94. The archive center is the first priority as the overall project was created out of a need for additional space to house the archival collections of the museum and library in Chicago.
The state-of-the-art, institutional archive will provide space to restore, preserve and store collections that include books, artifacts and other historical materials. Within the archives center designed by JAHN, an award-winning, internationally recognized architectural firm, will be a 9,400-square-foot gallery.
The first phase also includes the creation of public green space, to include 7,440 feet of walking paths.
“The development of this project is critical for our economy,” Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. CEO and Secretary Missy Hughes said at the time of the groundbreaking. “Various communities in Wisconsin depend on tourism to bring revenue. Having a special project like this in a unique village and town like Somers gives us the opportunity to draw new visitors that will help our community prosper.”
The full project is planned to be completed in phases over an estimated 10 years.
Each project component will serve to extend the mission of the museum and library “by uniting the past with progress by advancing historic preservation, increasing the public understanding of military history and the sacrifices made by those who served,” a press release about the groundbreaking explained.
Construction will follow on the Midwest Firearms Education & Training Center and Cold War Veterans Memorial, while the building of commercial archival space will be completed on demand.
Fewer than 7 percent of the total 288 acres will have buildings on them with a focus on preserving green space. Wetlands will remain undisturbed and buildings will be energy efficient and utilize solar panels and rainwater collection for reuse.
Construction updates and more information about the archives park can be found at www.pritzkerarchivespark.com.
Established under the direction of Col. Jennifer N. Pritzker, Illinois Army National Guard (retired), the mission of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, based in Chicago, is to acquire and maintain an accessible collection of materials and to develop appropriate programs focusing on the citizen soldier in the preservation of democracy.
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