GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -
On Monday, Members of the Mississippi Aquarium management and construction team gave a tour of the work site.
CEO and President of the Mississippi Aquarium David Kimmel glowed with excitement as he showed public officials the progress being made on the Mississippi Aquarium.
"When you drive by you don't really understand the size of this until you walk it and look at the drone footage, you start to see just how large this site is," Kimmel said.
Mayor Billy Hewes joined the tour. "It's amazing the progress their making. It's gone from a blighted landscape to a little bit of dirt work and some fencing, to now we're actually starting to see the physical structure come out of the ground and you can almost see some of the components independently show," said Hewes.
The biggest component you can see will turn into a focal point of the aquarium. A large concrete structure in the middle of the site is a base for the tank. In the center of the tank, a circle tube is carved out where visitors will walk through and be surrounded by aquatic wonders.
Across the property a large hole will soon turn into a dolphin habitat. Underneath the ground, much of the piping is finished.
According to Kimmel right now the $63 million project is on schedule and on budget. "Everything that we've had has been covered and even those things that are unforeseen we've had a contingency budget set up to deal with those," Kimmel said.
Much progress has been made in the 13 months since ground was broken on the aquarium, now the anticipation is growing to see what lies ahead.
"It won't be long before we'll have the acrylic coming over from Italy. It's already manufactured and will be coming into the state port," Hewes said. "This building should be ready for it before too long."
Project leaders said the Aquarium is still on track to open in late 2019 or early 2020.
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(Photo Source: WLOX)