With fewer than two months to go before the opening of the new Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center and Museum, fundraisers are more than $20 million away from reaching their goal of $125 million needed for the project.
But that's right on schedule, according to a spokeswoman for the Gettysburg Foundation, the nonprofit organization that has handled the funding of the new center.
"We're thrilled with the way things are going," spokeswoman Dru Neil said.
The up-to-date fundraising total of $105 million was released this week for the first time since spring last year, when the total raised was at
$93 million, Neil said.
And even though the visitor center is on schedule to open April 14, the Gettysburg Foundation is not fretting the remaining amount needed.
That's because the cost of constructing the center and restoring the Cyclorama painting is about $103 million -- $101 million of which has already been donated, Neil said.
The difference between that total and the ultimate goal of $125 million will go toward other facets of the project, including endowments and battlefield rehabilitation, Neil said.
The new visitor center, being built off Baltimore Pike, was originally projected to cost $40 million, but the project's scope expanded and costs spiraled upward.
The center will include a snack bar, a place for visitors to check historical records, a collections storage area and two theaters that will show a 22-minute film about the battle.
The museum at the center will include more than a dozen rooms and more than nine interactive exhibits, serving as a gallery dedicated to topics like the casualties of war and the emancipation of slaves. Visitors will also be able to view exhibits in two areas outside the museum.
Fundraising activities are still very much alive at the Gettysburg Foundation, although the focus this past week has been on moving staff offices to the new center, Neil said. Park Service staff have said their offices will not be relocated until only days before the center's opening.
Donations to the project continue to come in from both large donors, such as corporations or other foundations, and individual donors, Neil said.
For more about the park, go to www.gettysburgfoundation.org