Construction on new library at Beauvoir reaches milestone

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The 25,500 square foot building is coming together brick by brick. As construction on the new Jefferson Davis Presidential Library reached a milestone, Beauvoir gave 500-guests a private tour of the massive structure.

The Topping Out celebration Thursday marked a significant moment for the great-great grandson of the only president of the Confederate States of America.

"It's very exciting for my family and also I think for the Gulf Coast and Beauvoir as an institution," said Bertram Hayes-Davis. "We've been working very diligently to replace all the structures that were destroyed in Katrina."

The second floor of the new library will house the Jefferson Davis Gallery and the Confederate Military Museum.  There will also be a revolving exhibit, presidential library, and a huge vault to store artifacts.

"And nothing will penetrate it. It's like a bunker," said Richard Forte, Beauvoir's Acting Director.

The first floor will feature a gift shop, offices, and a multi-purpose room that can accommodate up to 250-people.

"It'll be state-of-the-art and it's a beautiful building," said Forte.

It is also built to stand up to powerful storms. The building is anchored by 167-pilings that are made of steel-reinforced concrete.

"If a storm takes this building away, Hattiesburg, Laurel and Meridian and Jackson will be gone. That's how strong it is," said Forte.

Beauvoir leaders say this new $10.5 million attraction will help spark tourism in south Mississippi.

"We're just excited about getting it open and getting tourists back down here," said Forte.

Beauvoir had hoped to have the library ready by June 3rd, which was Jefferson Davis' 203rd birthday. But because of construction delays, the completion date has been pushed back to November.

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