HOUSTON, Texas — Founding fathers declared our independence from Great Britain in a building nearly identical to one nearing completion at Houston Baptist University.
"And outside of Philadelphia, this is the closest you can get to the real thing with the added conveniences of air conditioning, elevators and internet,” said Dr. Chris Hammons, a political science professor and director of HBU's Morris Family Center for Law & Liberty.
It will be housed in the red brick replica that’s been years in the making.
“I flew to Philadelphia in 2013 and talked to the superintendent of the real Independence Hall," said Hammons. "She was very helpful...and we got the blueprints from the national archives.”
The $30 million project started taking shape thanks to a generous gift by HBU founder Stewart Morris and his family.
And donations are still being accepted months ahead of a planned grand opening.
Renderings show what interior spaces will look like. Some of them are reminiscent of the real Independence Hall.
"When you walk in, there will be the historic signing room where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were debated and crafted,” said Hammons.
Once finished, the center will host community events, lectures and school field trips.
Hammons said it'll bring history to life for a much different America.
"And what we want them to understand is that as many challenges as our nation faces, that regardless of where you’re from, regardless of who your parents are, these founding principles in our nation’s founding documents are important to their future," said Hammons.
There are also plans to incorporate a replica Liberty Bell.