Photos by Pam Zubeck
The Olympic Museum's groundbreaking drew a couple hundred people.
"This building will sit in the shadow of Pikes Peak in the world class city of Colorado Springs."
With those words from Benita Fitzgerald-Mosley, Olympic gold medalist in hurdles, the groundbreaking ceremony began for the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame
at Vermijo Avenue and Sierra Madre Street in southwest downtown.
Mayor Suthers put on a ball cap to protect from a burning sun, while Gov. John Hickenlooper, to Suthers' left, decided he'd brave it. Wearing a hard hat is Olympic Museum board chairman Dick Celeste.
Chair of the museum board Dick Celeste, the former president of Colorado College and former governor of Ohio, expressed relief that the project was getting underway.
"It's finally happened," he sighed, as dozens of people streamed to the folding chairs set up this morning in the middle of Vermijo.
Developer David Jenkins, third from right, attended the groundbreaking. The museum will be built on land he donated.
The project has been planned since at least 2013, when the city proposed its inclusion in the City for Champions tourism package that won $120.5 million in funding from the Colorado Economic Development Commission. Other projects include a downtown stadium, Air Force Academy visitors center and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs sports medicine center.
After struggling to raise funds, the museum board has amassed enough in public and private money to start construction.
The 60,000-square-foot museum was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro of New York City and will be built by Colorado Springs-based G.E. Johnson Construction.
Key contributors are the Anschutz Foundation, El Pomar Foundation, Mary K. Chapman Foundation, John and Margot Lane Foundation and the Lyda Hill Foundation.