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Hurricane museum gets $200,000 donation

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LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Cheniere Energy officials have presented a $200,000 donation to further the building of the National Hurricane Museum and Science Center in downtown Lake Charles.

Gray Stream, who heads the museum's board of directors, tells the American Press (http://bit.ly/1eOXZNb ) the donation brings the total amount of committed funding to $36 million. The facility has an estimated $68 million price tag.

"The only way all those (committed) funds trigger is if we close that gap and get the second half of this project funded through regional industry, the private sector and individuals," he said. "That's what we're totally focused on for the next year and a half."

Jason French, Cheniere's director of government and public affairs, said the company's contribution was part of the "first responders fund." About $800,000 has been raised in that fund, he said.

"Not only is this going to be a world-class institution from the programming and the exhibits ... but it's really going to provide an iconic landmark for Lake Charles," French said. "It just plays into the larger growth story in Lake Charles."

The facility is designed to educate people on the effects of hurricanes, including a hurricane-based curriculum that teaches math and science to students in grades 6-8.

The proposed 68,000-square-foot museum will include an auditorium, learning center, gallery and electronic classrooms. It could attract more than 200,000 visitors per year and boost the local economy by more than $60 million annually, officials have said.

Stream said the state has set aside $28 million in capital outlay money for the project. The Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana in May donated $75,000 to the museum.

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Information from: American Press, http://www.americanpress.com

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