The George W. Bush Presidential Center, which opened on April 25, 2013, is a complex that includes former President George W. Bush's presidential library and museum, the George W. Bush Policy Institute, and the offices of the George W. Bush Foundation. It is located on the campus of Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas.
Site selection process
Before George W. Bush even became President, officials at Baylor University in Waco, Texas started to work on a bid for the library. They believed that their proximity to his ranch in Crawford and their location within 100 miles (160 km) of Austin, Dallas and the Bryan-College Station metropolitan area gave them a good shot at winning such a project. Not long after Bush became President, officials at Southern Methodist University began working on their bid for the library.
Details of potential sites
Each of the groups had different pros and cons to their bids. Arlington had land to offer near the stadiums for the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers. It was in the middle of an area that already draws a large number of tourists every year. The lack of school involvement was a large drawback to the proposal, even though the University of Texas at Arlington assisted the city in making the bid.
Final stages of selection
In late 2005, the White House announced that SMU, Baylor, UD and Texas Tech had been selected as finalists to make their pitch to the library committee in Washington headed by the President's long time friend and former Commerce Secretary, Donald Evans. A few weeks after the presentations had been made, the committee announced that Texas Tech had been dropped from consideration, leaving only SMU, Baylor and The University of Dallas in contention.
Selection of SMU
On February 22, 2008, officials at Southern Methodist University reported that the final details of the agreement between the university and the Bush Foundation would be finalized, clearing the way for an official announcement that the George W. Bush Library would be built at SMU. The university soon officially confirmed the signed agreement.
Completion and dedication ceremony
The completion and dedication of the facility took place on April 25, 2013. All living former U.S. presidents and the incumbent U.S. president, Barack Obama, were in attendance. The last meeting of President Obama, former President Bush, former President Clinton, former President George H.W. Bush and former President Carter took place in the White House in 2009, just ahead of President Obama's first inauguration. None of the speakers in attendance made any mention of the war in Iraq, a defining event in George W. Bush's presidency.