Expansion on hold after funding falls through

WASHINGTON — A massive building project to expand the Kennedy Center has been placed on hold after Congress failed to appropriate $400 million needed to help fund it.

Unveiled in 2001, project is slated to include two buildings over a proposed plaza that will house administrative, education and rehearsal facilities, as well as an exhibit hall/museum for the performing arts. The design by New York architect Rafael Vinoly has been approved.

A disappointed prexy Michael Kaiser said the Kennedy Center is “aware that budget constraints have made it difficult for Congress to fund this particular project.” The facility is raising $250 million toward the $650 million expansion.

Failure of Congress to include the funding in a transportation budget bill does not mean the project is dead, however. Given the influence of the center’s board and myriad supporters, Congress may well restore the funding in the future.

The planned buildings would dominate a proposed eight-acre plaza that would connect the now-isolated center with the rest of the city. Initial plans called for construction during the next decade over an existing freeway.

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