Construction on the RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inc.’s new RV museum and hall of fame in Elkhart County, Ind., is expected to begin by the first part of April.
“We are prepared to begin construction,” reports foundation President Carl Ehry. “Our game plan is to start by the end of March or the first of April, and for Phase I to be done sometime in October.”
The planned 65,000-square-foot facility is to be located adjacent to the Indiana Toll Road near the new east Elkhart exit.
The project has been several years in the planning. In 2002, the foundation paid $800,000 for 40 acres of land with 2,000 feet of frontage on the Indiana Toll Road for the new facility, which will replace the foundation’s current museum, library and hall of fame in downtown Elkhart.
That building is expected to be purchased for $500,000 by Faith Mission if new zoning is approved. “We have a purchase agreement, if they can raise the money,” said Al Hesselbart, a foundation consultant and member of its building committee.
The project manager for the new building, The Troyer Group, Mishawaka, Ind., invited six Elkhart-area construction companies to submit bids, which were to be returned March 9.
The foundation board of directors also was to have received an update March 5 during a meeting at the Marriott Hotel in San Diego, Calif.
Exactly what will be built this summer depends on the bids the foundation receives. The board last August decided to move ahead with the project in phases.
A museum that will feature the foundation’s collection of more than 30 vintage RVs, along with administrative offices, is part of the core bid. A Suppliers Hall and a Manufactured Housing Hall are in the Phase I bid as alternatives and will be included if finances allow.
Those aspects of the plan left out of Phase I will be added to one of two later construction phases that tentatively include a conference center and an outdoor display area for new RVs.
“There are a lot of ‘ifs’ but that can’t be helped when a non-profit is trying to build a new building,” Hesselbart said.
Hesselbart said about $4 million of the estimated $6 million project cost has already been raised, and that the foundation expects not to have to borrow any money to finish the facility.
The first phase will consist of a 15,000-square-foot RV Hall and a 17,000-square-foot central lobby and theater, with 5,000 square feet devoted to the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
The first floor central lobby and theater will be available for rent for events, while space on the second floor will house foundation offices and a library.