BRISTOL, Va. - A transformation is taking place in downtown Bristol. The future Birthplace of Country Music Museum is starting to take shape as construction crews work to turn an old building in Bristol, Virginia into a state-of-the-art interactive music museum.
We got the chance to take a look at the progress happening inside closed doors on Monday. Click here to view photos of the construction inside.
With all of the machinery in the building, it's easy to tell construction isn't over by any means. In fact, the museum is still over a year away from opening its door to visitors.
But inside, the building that will soon become a Bristol landmark has come a very long way.
A construction site has never looked better to the eyes of those awaiting the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, like Bristol, Tennessee mayor Joel Staton. "I was amazed of the workmanship and the craftsmanship that's gone on since the last time I was in here," he told us at the site.
With brick cleaned and exposed, and a floor taking shape, this future museum is slowly starting to come together.
Burwell Construction is the company tackling the project. "The scope that we're in right now is called the coring shells, the floors, the roof," Burwell's William Prince told us.
The shells offer small glimpses into the museum's layout. A grand staircase will be featured; for the very first time we're also starting to see what will soon become the focal point of the entire museum -- an elliptical skylight that will shine on a two-story sculpture.
BCM marketing assistant Sarah Tollie told us about the sculpture that will sit in that spot. "It's going to feature all of the artists from the [1927 Bristol] Sessions and just be really a centerpiece," she said.
We found out that in May, you're going to see construction crews on the second floor installing windows. William Price says that's going to change the entire character of the building. "They are steel windows," he said. "They are historically correct for the building."
As construction carries on, so does planning what to put inside the museum. We learned the upstairs will host interactive exhibits highlighting country music's role in Bristol in relation to faith, work, and community.
Another zone will examine radio's impact on music. Back downstairs there will be room for temporary exhibits, a gift shop, and even a 100-seat performance theater.
"It's going to be a sense of pride for the area," Tollie said. "Not only for music but for the downtown and the community as a whole."
It's a dream that's taking shape one piece at a time.
The project is expected to cost about $11 million. So far construction officials tell us they are under budget.
By the end of 2013, the building itself should be complete. That's when they start working on the interactive displays and the museum itself.
The entire project is scheduled to be finished by July 2014.
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