The Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum will break ground this spring after the County of Grande Prairie donated a further $3 million to the project last week.
"I’m absolutely overjoyed," said project executive director Brian Brake in a news release Monday. "It’s incredibly gratifying to see these regional players step up to make this museum a reality."
The project’s plans are to tender in January 2013, break ground in April 2013 and open the museum in June 2014, said Erika Sherk, with the Pipestone Creek Dinosaur Initiative.
Last summer the future of the museum seemed in jeopardy after organizers learned they weren't getting $10 million in federal funding.
Since then the City of Grande Prairie upped its contribution by $2 million and the MD of Greenview donated another $150,000.
The county's donation brings the total amount pledged to $19.5 million.
The museum’s construction management firm, PCL Construction, and architects Teeple Architects are already working on the tendering process. The building is fully designed.
The project hopes to raise the remaining $7 million with a sponsorship program giving donors the chance to have their name attached to a variety of museum components, including dinosaur skeletons, classrooms and the theatre, among other fundraising efforts.
The 41,000-square-foot museum, located in the town of Wembley off Highway 43, will include a dinosaur gallery of large skeletons from the region, an oil and gas wing, a theatre, two SMART-technology classrooms and a lab where visitors can watch palaeontologists at work.