- The Washington Times - Friday, April 12, 2002

That's no ordinary airplane hangar under construction near Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly.
It's the Smithsonian's newest air and space museum, the Udvar-Hazy Center, a 294,000-square-foot structure that will anchor a display of more than 200 aircraft and 135 different space vehicles.
The flagship Air and Space Museum on the Mall, as large as it is, has room for only 62 aircraft.
Museum officials provided an update yesterday on the new, $311 million center. Construction is ahead of schedule thanks to the mild winter, said Jack Dailey, director of the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum.
The hangar's superstructure, which rises 10 stories high, is about 62 percent complete and is now a clear landmark to travelers as they approach and take off from Dulles.
"This is going to be an architecturally stunning facility," Mr. Dailey said. "All of those steel trusses are unsupported. The design is exquisite."
Museum officials say the Udvar-Hazy Center, named for the billionaire who donated $60 million to its construction, will allow the Smithsonian to display 80 percent of its collection that doesn't fit in the museum on the Mall.
Among the artifacts slated for display at the Chantilly site are the space shuttle Enterprise, the prototype shuttle used in test flights in the late 1970s by NASA before the launch of the space shuttle Columbia in 1981, and the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
Although construction is ahead of schedule, the museum still plans to open in December 2003, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the first flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C.
Museum officials expect to draw 3 million to 4 million visitors a year, compared with the 9 million at the Air and Space Museum.
Don Lopez, the museum's deputy director, said he expects many tourists will start their day at the Chantilly Center, which will have a 2,000-space parking lot, and take shuttle buses or other public transportation to museums.
The museum's estimate of construction costs is now $311 million, up from last year's estimate of $299 million. Mr. Dailey said the extra costs resulted from the recognition that the museum was subject to federal law that requires construction workers to be paid union wages.
The Smithsonian originally had pegged the cost at $238 million.
The museum still must raise $96 million to fully meet its costs, Mr. Dailey said.

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