George W. Bush Library appears to be headed to Dallas
According to the Dallas Morning News, the George W. Bush Presidential Library will likely be awarded to Southern Methodist University in Dallas. According to DMN, the Bush selection committee is in negotiations with the folks over on the hilltop about the particulars.
I felt that SMU had the best shot throughout the process. With all due respect to the University of Dallas, it always seemed that a higher profile institution would be the spot, and that left Baylor and SMU. Baylor is centrally located, and near the Bush Ranch in Crawford, but again Dallas vs. Waco also seemed to be a no-brainer. SMU is the alma matter of First Lady Laura Bush.
With the University of Texas and Texas A&M University housing the Johnson and Bush 41 libraries respectively, SMU will give Texas 3 presidential libraries. Texas is the only state to have more than one of these facilities (the Ford Library and Museum housed in separate cities doesn't count).
I think this is a win for Dallas, though it won't be received with all the fanfare of Arlington's announcement of Jerry World last week. The economic impact for the city is real, as the library will be a popular tourist destination – despite the President's approval ratings.
As an alumni of Texas A&M, the George H.W. Bush Library has made a huge impact on the school and in the Bryan-College Station area. According to a Bush Library staff member at A&M they see about 150-200 thousand visitors annually, down from 300-400 thousand when they initially opened.
Right or wrong, good or bad, the Bush Administration is part of American history. For years to come people will want to know more about that history, and they will come to Dallas to do so. If he follows the example of his father, the President will form a close relationship with the university, making numerous visits to Dallas, attending football games, and hosting other events at the center. Who knows, we may even have a new neighbor.