NEW ORLEANS -- December 13, 2007: The National World War II Museum in New Orleans has awarded Satterfield and Pontikes Construction Group, LLC a $42 million construction contract as part of the $61 million next phase of the Museum’s $ 300 million capital expansion. Across the street from the current Museum facility, construction will begin within weeks on the advanced-format Theatre and the USO Experience and Canteen. This will be the first of six new pavilions creating the expanded WWII Museum campus, due to be completed in 2014.
There has been great anticipation for the theatre project, which will feature state of the art special effects, 4-D multi-sensory experiences and dimensional sound. The 250 seat Theatre will première a signature cinematic presentation being created exclusively for The National World War II Museum. The production, entitled “Beyond all Boundaries,” will immerse the visitor in the story and experience of the war that changed the world. Tom Hanks serves as Executive Producer for the project and Phil Hettema of The Hettema Group heads the extensive creative team. For 14 years, Hettema was Director of all the creative attractions at
Universal Studios. The Theatre is projected to open in the summer of 2009. The architect
for the expansion is Voorsanger Mathes, L.L.C. which was formed by combining the talents of noted New York architectural firm Voorsanger Architects, P.L.C. and the New Orleans firm of Mathes Brierre Architects.
The USO Experience will feature a specially-produced rear screen audio/visual presentation as well as live entertainment to put visitors in the time and place of the World War II era and show how famous performers and Hollywood celebrities used music and comedy to lift the morale of troops and home front workers. The audio/visual presentation and interior design themes were developed by Gallagher and Associates of Bethesda, Maryland, considered among the foremost exhibit design firms in the country.
In support of the Museum’s expansion and the revitalization of the neighborhood, the Regional Planning Commission, the City and the Museum are undertaking major street improvements on Magazine Street from St. Joseph to Calliope which include moving all Entergy power lines below ground, resurfacing Magazine Street, and installing new brick sidewalks, historic lamp posts and lighted street trees.
This phase of the expansion will be funded by private donors, the State Capital Outlay program, federal Economic Development grants and New Market Tax Credits.
The Federal New Market Tax Credit program, administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is designed to stimulate economic revitalization and community development in specific economically distressed geographical areas.
Satterfield and Pontikes Construction Group, LLC operates from offices in Texas and Louisiana. Established in 1989, the firm is now headed by its major stockholder, President and CEO George A. Pontikes, Jr. Satterfield and Pontikes projects have included airport support, community, entertainment, manufacturing, retail, and disaster relief facilities as well as educational institutions. Pontikes was in New Orleans for the signing of the contract, scheduled as part of the meeting of the Museum’s national Board of Trustees.
The National World War II Museum was founded by noted historian Stephen E. Ambrose, Ph.D. and led today by President and CEO, Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, Ph.D. It opened to worldwide acclaim as The National D-Day Museum on June 6, 2000 and quickly became one of the most respected and popular cultural attractions in the region. In 2003, the United States Congress honored the Museum by naming it America’s official museum of the Second World War. The institution subsequently changed its name to reflect this national designation. Already a destination attraction, the expanded Museum campus is projected to draw more than 680,000 visitors annually.