The Medal of Honor Museum on the Gainesville campus of North Central Texas College is inching closer to reality after House Bill 4347 passed during the 86th legislative session in Austin.
The bill, which was sent to Governor Greg Abbott Sunday, May 26, provides a “funding mechanism” to build the museum, according to a press release sent this week from State Rep. Drew Springer’s office.
“This is something that I have been diligently working toward for two sessions,” Springer, R-Muenster, said in the release. “This museum will be a lasting tribute to our nation’s greatest heroes and will educate and inspire visitors for generations to come. My staff and I will continue to follow through on the administrative steps now necessary to start on the physical construction, but the hardest hurdle — finding the funding — has been cleared.”
Future hotel tax receipts will be eligible to pay off building bonds for the proposed Medal of Honor Museum, said Jonathan Mathers, chief of staff for Springer.
“Ultimately HB 4347 gives the local leaders the option and so any use of the hotel tax and any financing would be determined and approved at the local level,” Mathers said.
The 8,850-square-foot facility on the college campus is projected to cost $5 million, according to information provided by the Medal of Honor Host City Program. Some funds have already been raised. Program officials did not provide an exact dollar amount raised.
Medal of Honor Host City Program Board President Tommy Moore said he was excited to hear the legislation had passed.
“I had been keeping my eye on House Bill 4347 while it went through both houses of congress and I had a feeling it would pass,” Moore said via an email interview with the Register this week. “So I felt very encouraged it would pass.”
Moore said he has worked on two things during his tenure as president: Funding for the museum and establishing a scholarship in partnership with NCTC.
“We have been successful in achieving both,” Moore said. “We are grateful to have an opportunity to have the Medal of Honor Host City Program leave its legacy at NCTC in perpetuity. I have been with the program as a volunteer since 2010 and both of those accomplishments [have] been a dream of our program since then.”
Springer is expected to meet with the state comptroller next week to go over details of the new legislation which would go into effect Sept. 1.