A Message from the Board of Trustees…
If the museum effort of 2022 could be defined by a single word, it would be momentum.
With the conclusion of last year's Celebration event, which saw 550 attendees celebrating the induction of eight new International Skydiving Hall of Fame members, the museum’s importance has never been more evident. The memory of the people who have advanced our sport must be preserved lest their innovations, records, and contributions are forgotten with time. Everyone who attended the ceremonies in DeLand, plus all who support the construction of the museum, recognizes the importance of the mission.
The momentum of 2022 carries our Board of Trustees into a new year of opportunity and challenge.
Museum Progress Report
Within the last few months, the effort to build the museum has hit some key benchmarks. HuntonBrady Architects have developed the design of the museum building, while Dimensional Innovations has generated the first design concepts for the exhibits and galleries within the museum.
The Hill family of Skydive Arizona has donated the fuselage and wing of the Shorts Skyvan (from which President George H. W. Bush made his first two intentional skydives) as a major exhibit, and more than $600,000 was raised in our fundraising efforts.
While there has been positive momentum with aspirations of breaking ground in 2023, our timeline has been tempered by the realities of soaring construction costs and a softening real estate market. The original estimate to build the museum was $9,500,000; this has now increased significantly.
This substantial increase has forced the board to pause on plans for groundbreaking and, instead, focus on bringing costs down without compromising the museum's sustainability once opened.
Chairman of the Board, Chris Needels, and the Facilities Committee are now leading the effort with HuntonBrady Architects to identify cost savings opportunities to ensure fiscal responsibility while offering our visitors an exciting and substantive experience. The board is also evaluating means by which to accelerate the start of construction.
The board is developing a strategic plan for the next steps to ensure momentum continues and that the following benchmarks are achieved.
They are as follows:
●Land Sale - The International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame owns a parcel of land next to the USPA headquarters in Fredericksburg, VA. The sale of this land is a key action item to advance our progress in Orlando.
●Fundraising - With the increased cost of building materials, a challenging labor market, and inflation, fundraising must continue at a more ardent pace. Over the past five years, the museum has averaged $920,000 in annual fundraising. This average rate must increase to adjust to changing market conditions and to expedite dates for construction. As highlighted, the Facilities Committee is in the process of updating financial targets.
●Schedule - The start of construction is wholly dependent on support from the skydiving community. The more funds received the sooner construction starts. With a surge of support, shovels could be in the ground within 12 months. Until fundraising surpasses the current annual rate of giving benchmarked against rising costs, a date for construction cannot be identified.
●Contractor Selection - With the security of finances stemming from the above action items, building permits will need to be secured along with the selection of a building contractor and bidding of the project.
Despite these most recent challenges, our board is resilient and unwavering. No one said this would be an easy or linear process. We ask for your continued support as we go about the mission of preserving and sharing our sport at a location that we can all be proud of.
With Best Regards,
The Board of Trustees of the International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame