FORT SMITH, Ark. — Site work has begun for the $16.5 million, star-shaped U.S. Marshals Museum in western Arkansas.

The museum’s board of directors is planning a September 2019 opening to coincide with the 230th anniversary of the U.S. Marshals Service, the Southwest Times Record reported. Exhibits will show the history of the oldest federal law enforcement agency in the United States.

Crews will construct a high dirt pad for the 53,000-square-foot facility over the course of next month. The Fort Smith site was previously a landfill for debris after a tornado hit the area in 1996.

“This is preliminary work to get the building pad and get some settlement requirements in,” said Blake Helm, senior project manager for CDI Contractors. “People will see about 100 dump trucks a day coming in and out of the site for about a month while we build the building pad.”

Museum President and CEO Patrick Weeks said there will be a halt in construction until spring after this phase of construction is complete. The standstill will allow the dirt pad to settle.

“After this work is done, somewhere between three and six weeks depending on weather, we are, on purpose, going to stop and let this building pad and overburden settle until the middle of next spring when we start construction,” Weeks said.

Information from: Southwest Times Record,

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