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Obama Unveils Designs for the Presidential Center in Chicago

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Former President Barack Obama revealed the designs for the Obama Presidential Center that will be based in Chicago’s historic Jackson Park – and announced that he and his wife, Former First Lady Michelle Obama, will donate $2 Million to fund a summer job program in Chicago.

The design includes three buildings – a museum, auditorium, and library and will also feature a community garden, restaurant, a children’s play area and potentially an athletic field, with the complex estimated to range 200,000 to 250,000 square feet. Obama then expressed the expectations he has for the complex, saying he hopes for there to be basketball played on campus, food trucks, barbecue grills on a potential parking garage, and a film and recording studio so artists like Spike Lee and Chance the Rapper can speak about how to make art with social commentary.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the former president said the goal of the future complex is to “train the next generation of leadership” so “they can take up the torch and lead the process of change in the future.”

Obama continued, “What we want this to be is the world-premiere institution for training young people and leadership to make a difference in their communities, in their country and in the world.”

With a desire to make the Obama Presidential Center a part of everyday life, the Obama Foundation is looking to feature a branch of a Chicago Public Library to the location.

Mayor of Chicago and Obama’s one-time chief of staff Rahm Emanuel praised the former President for staying true to himself and never losing touch of the city that he calls home. “President Obama never lost touch with Chicago, his home, and Chicago never lost touch with President Obama.”

Designed by the husband-and-wife team of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the “transformational project” will hire 200 to 300 employees and create 1,400 to 1,500 jobs during construction. The Obama Presidential Center is estimated to cost $500 Million and is expected to be completed by 2021.

Take a first look at the Obama Presidential Center below.

Photo Credit: The Obama Foundation/Website