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WHITING — Construction is moving along, the project is coming in under budget, and local and regional businesses are on board to help financially sponsor the Mascot Hall of Fame.

It’s a good day at the ballpark as far as Mayor Joe Stahura is concerned.

Favorable weather following the October groundbreaking allowed construction crews to keep a steady pace and bring the work in under budget.

Stahura said it was initially thought construction on the building at the corner of Front and 119th streets could be completed by the end of January, but it would likely be the second week in February before exhibit fabricators could get into the structure to start working their magic.

It will take four to six months for the fabricators to create the five major areas of the exhibits, pushing a targeted opening date info the fall, likely September or October, Stahura said.

The Mascot Hall of Fame, described as a “high quality, world-class family attraction,” will focus on children 12 years old and younger.

The interactive exhibits in the children’s museum will be fun, Stahura said, but they’ll also be educational.

Calumet College is working with the city to write a curriculum for the exhibits, incorporating science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics components into the displays.

“We envision it as a Mascot U,” the mayor said.

The Whiting Redevelopment Commission provided about $8.5 million to construct the downtown building and provide furnishings. The exhibits are expected to run about $4 million. The Philadelphia Phillies and Cleveland Indians have pledged funding for those. Chicago sports teams and local and regional businesses have come on board with financial support as well.

There’ll be much fanfare to celebrate the completion of the Hall of Fame, Stahura said. Plans have yet to be firmed up but activities will spill over into 2019 and include such events as a mascot convention and mascot parade.

Groundbreaking for the Mascot Hall of Fame