The long-planned 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center is delayed another year and is now hoping for a 2026 opening.
The $100 million education center is set to be located within the soon-to-be expanded Arlington National Cemetery and along Columbia Pike, which is being realigned to accommodate the cemetery’s expansion.
That has also moved the education center’s timeline back about a year, executive director Jim Laychak told ARLnow. The aim is now to start construction on the education center in 2024 with a hoped-for opening in 2026 — 25 years after the terror attacks.
“That [realignment and expansion] project frames the site for the future visitors’ center, so we are dependent on that and its timeline,” Laychak said.
In terms of design, the plans for the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center haven’t changed much since last year. There have been some adjustments to the exterior, said Laychak, but those are still under review.
The education center will feature a modern design with exhibits on the first floor, “interactive biographies” of those who died at the Pentagon on 9/11, a second-floor conference room with views, a rooftop terrace, and ample parking.
Laychak, who also oversaw the building of the Pentagon Memorial, says this project is being funded in much the same way as the memorial — a combination of public and private funds.
The education center has raised about $14 million in private donations so far, an increase of about $9 million since this time last year. That includes a $2.5 million donation from Amazon.
The project still needs another $85 million though, Laychak said. The hope is to receive about $70 million from the federal government.
The 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center, much like the memorial, is a deeply personal project for Laychak. His brother Dave was killed at the Pentagon on 9/11. This weekend will mark the 21st anniversary of the terrorist attack and his brother’s death.
“All of them are [tough],” Laychak said last year about the 20th anniversary. “One is not any more or less meaningful than the other, though you start to realize how much life has gone on without Dave.”
He’ll be in attendance at the Pentagon Memorial again this year for a small service for family members and invited guests.
The memorial and education center are important reminders, Laychak said, of a tragic day that changed history and defined a generation that fought the wars that followed. For such a pivotal moment in history, however, it’s notable that newer generations have not had the same searing memories of that fateful day.
Laychak briefly told a story about how he was leading a school tour at the memorial a few years ago and many of the kids didn’t know the details of what had happened at the Pentagon on 9/11.
“We need to remember those stories and remember what happened, especially these days with social media and all of the misinformation, conspiracy theories,” said Laychak. “We are going to get [the education center] done. It’s a project we believe in.”
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St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.
Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.
We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up.
For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at www.stcharlesarlington.org or call (703) 527-0608.
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Join the free presentation to learn about courses and meet the instructors. This is Encore Learning’s signature event to highlight the upcoming semester with brief presentations by each instructor.
The Spring Course Preview event is Thursday, February 2nd at 9:30 AM via Zoom:
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