- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 23, 2008

President Bush has repeatedly said that only historians will be able to capture accurately his time in office, and yesterday the president decided where those historians and the general public can learn about that time.

The White House announced that Mr. Bush’s presidential library will be located at Southern Methodist University in Dallas after the school’s board of trustees unanimously approved the deal.

SMU is first lady Laura Bush’s alma mater, and had been expected to house her husband’s presidential library.

Mr. Bush, in a letter to SMU President R. Gerald Turner, said he was looking forward “to the day when both the general public and scholars come and explore the important and challenging issues our nation has faced during my presidency.”

The president has been dismissive of pundits, pollsters and many in news media who have criticized him over the Iraq war, civil liberties, and many other topics.

“I’ll be dead before the true history of the Bush administration is written,” Mr. Bush said in an interview last month. “My attitude is that it’s going to take a while for objective historians to realize the contributions that this administration has made to peace.”

Antipathy toward Mr. Bush, who has suffered from the longest stretch of low approval ratings since President Truman, did emerge among some of SMU’s faculty, who protested their school’s consideration of the presidential library.

But Mr. Turner yesterday called it a “great honor” for the university to be chosen for the library, which will cost around $250 million according to knowledgeable sources who asked not to be identified.

“We thank President Bush for entrusting this important long-term resource to our community, and for the opportunity for SMU to serve the nation in this special way,” he said.

The library will sit on about 11 acres and have three distinct pieces: a presidential library that holds documents and artifacts from Mr. Bush’s eight years in office, a museum, and a public policy institute.

News reports have said the plans submitted to architects by the George W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation have called for a 145,000-square-foot library and a 40,000-square-foot public policy institute.

Donald Evans, Mr. Bush’s former commerce secretary who heads up the library foundation, said the library will be “an important civic institution.”

“We are delighted that it will be in the international city of Greater Dallas and in a city that has played such an important role in the lives of the president and first lady,” Mr. Evans said.

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