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Where will Obama's presidential library be? There are four finalists

Where will Obama's presidential library be? There are four finalists
President Obama delivers a speech in California in May. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The Barack Obama Foundation on Monday announced four locations as potential sites for President Obama's presidential library and museum.

Columbia University, the University of Hawaii, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago are all set to submit official proposals to house the library. Each of the universities demonstrated in initial proposals the ability to develop and design the library and enhance economic development in the communities in which they reside, according to officials with the foundation. 

“These four potential partners have come the farthest in meeting our criteria and have each demonstrated a strong vision for the future Obama Presidential Library," said foundation Chairman Martin Nesbitt, a close friend of the Obamas. "We look forward to working with each institution to further refine their proposals over the coming months, and to presenting our recommendations to the president and first lady early next year.” 

On Monday, the foundation asked each of the universities to submit formal proposals by December, with the Obamas set to make a final site selection in early 2015.

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Construction of President George W. Bush's presidential library -- which opened on the campus of Southern Methodist University in April 2013 -- cost about $250 million. Construction of President Clinton's library in Little Rock, Ark., cost about $165 million. It opened in 2004.

Although the foundation did not offer cost estimates for the construction of Obama's library, the New York Times in June cited unnamed advisors as saying it could cost more than $500 million.

Obama is entering the final two years of his presidency and has ties to the locations of each of the finalists vying to house his library.

He's a native of Hawaii and completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia University.

In the years after he worked as a community organizer on the south side of Chicago, Obama was a law professor at the University of Chicago and lived for several years in the Hyde Park neighborhood located near that university.

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