Bidding for The Hunley
Saturday, January 26, 2002
BY SCHUYLER KROPF
Of The Post and Courier Staff
HDCommunity bids for Hunley museum due by Feb. 15
The three cities competing to host the Confederate
submarine H. L. Hunley museum have less than a month to submit their bid
Feb. 15 is the cut-off date for Charleston, Mount
Pleasant and North Charleston to file their proposals.
State Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, chairman of
the state Hunley Commission, said that once the packages are filed, an
evaluation process will begin that will hinge greatly on the promotion of two
key areas: long-term conservation and display of the submarine, and keeping
the Hunley a high-profile tourism draw.
That also includes any potential "endowment,
fund-raising capabilities and ... flow of spectators to keep the project
solvent," McConnell said.
The Hunley, now being housed at the Warren Lasch
Conservation Lab in North Charleston, is expected to be a major tourism draw
when it goes on public display once the sub is treated for exposure after 136
years on the sea bottom.
The three packages first will be evaluated for
content by a review subcommittee. Its members include McConnell, and fellow
Hunley Commission members Randy Burbage, state Rep. Chip Limehouse and (Ret.)
Adm. William L. Schachte Jr.
"We will go through those and make sure all the
questions are answered and we have a clear picture of what each is
offering," McConnell said.
Each city can then give oral presentations to the
full commission. McConnell said the process will be open to the public.
The selection will be made based on merit as the
commission members evaluate the proposals.
"We're going to make it clear to all parties
that (the choice) is clearly within the discretion of the commission,"
McConnell said. The team of scientists studying the sub also will be
McConnell said he has spoken with the three city
mayors in the past week, and all indicated high interest. The design details
have been outlined in letters sent to all three cities.
In addition to housing the Hunley, the building must
be designed to feature a Civil War maritime museum. The total size is
projected to be at least 40,000 square feet. Water access is mandatory because
McConnell envisions the museum featuring a scale, working reproduction of the
Mount Pleasant is offering space near Patriot's
Point, Charleston is offering a site near the S.C. Aquarium, and North
Charleston wants the Hunley museum incorporated as part of the Noisette
Project redevelopment of the former Charleston Navy Base.
Last week the Patriot's Point Development Authority
heard a presentation by the Mount Pleasant-based engineering firm of Seamon,
Whiteside & Associates on the proposed museum.
Because of the competitive contractual nature of the
information, the authority's board decided to not let the press see the
"This is sensitive information," said
Patriot's Point Executive Director David Burnette.
David Quick of The Post and Courier staff
contributed to this report.
Used with permission of The Post and
Courier and Charleston.Net