08/23/12 — Air Force museum panel still pondering names

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Air Force museum panel still pondering names

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on August 23, 2012 1:46 PM

Goldsboro's Air Force Museum Citizen Committee decided Wednesday to give its members an extra two weeks to mull over a name and mission statement for the proposed facility as meetings with consultants via teleconference continue.

The committee also got its first look at what it may cost to outfit the city's building at 2406 E. Ash St. into a center to showcase the history of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and the 4th Fighter Wing.

The master plan cost estimate the committee looked over Wednesday showed a total cost of building renovations at $2,358,425, including 20 percent of the construction total for markups and contingency considerations.

Committee Chairman Jimmie Edmundson said he was encouraged by the estimate, which came in much lower than expected, but noted that operations costs and other expenses could increase the cost.

"I'm pretty encouraged by what it's going to take to get the building up to speed," he said.

Edmundson said Verner Johnson, the consultant group heading the project, was instructed to make do with a relatively small budget and that it seemed the team had delivered on its promise.

He also said cost estimates for operations, which, in part, were spelled out in another document, showing possible positions to staff the museum could be reduced by using volunteers. He cited statistics that showed there were more than 13,000 veterans in the area and that other museums he had visited leaned heavily on volunteers for their operations.

The consultant's staffing profile includes a staff of six full-time and five part-time positions, although Assistant City Manager Tasha said one of those part-time positions, the marketing and membership development manager, was discussed initially as a full-time museum position.

The staff would be led by an executive director and assisted by an administrative assistant, along with a programs and exhibits manager, a group, outreach and public programs educator, a guest services and museum store manager and a facilities manager.

Part-time positions would include two cashiers to handle admission sales, a custodian and an audio-visual exhibits assistant.

Beyond the sharing of the initial report, discussions about the museum name and mission statement dominated much of the meeting.

The Air Power Museum at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is still the heavy favorite among members because the name includes all wings and airmen based or previously based at Seymour Johnson.

The committee chose to postpone a vote on the name until all members had an opportunity to share their opinions on it, especially since a number of members -- some of whom are educators -- were not present at either meeting where the name was discussed.

The committee's concerns about including all airmen, including on-the-ground personnel, within the confines of the mission statement were addressed as well, with the alteration of a phrase that seemed to address only military personnel "in the air."

The committee tinkered with a new phrase suggested by the consultants, although members were not impressed with the concept of "Air Defense," noting that the fighters and tankers based at Seymour Johnson were typically used for "offense."

The mission statement conversation, like talks over the museum's name, will continue into the committee's Sept. 5 meeting, which will also feature further discussions about the museum's proposed budget.