Officials with the National Mounted Warfare Foundation have announced that the first phase of construction for the National Mounted Warrior Museum at Fort Hood has been completed.

A soft opening for the new 28,700-square-foot museum is planed in late spring 2022 and grand opening in summer 2023 after interior displays are in place, foundation officials announced in a holiday message this week.

“2021 was a landmark year for your Foundation — we completed construction of Phase I of the National Mounted Warrior Museum,” according to emailed message. “We will begin conducting special events in the Museum in March 2022. Please get in touch with us if you are interested in holding an event or would like to tour the building.”

Bob Crouch, the vice president of the foundation, said officials are still continuing fundraising for the other phases of the museum and will offer commemorative bricks, which can be ordered through the website at nmwfoundation.org.

In 2020, the $38 million project broke ground at Fort Hood after being in planning for 10 years.

The new museum is expected to grow in size in subsequent phases, officials said. It is being built outside Fort Hood’s security fence, meaning visitors will not have go through a Fort Hood gate to get to it.

When the Mounted Warrior Museum opens, the two museums on post, the 1st Cavalry Division Museum and the 3rd Cavalry Regiment Museum, will close and move into the new museum building.

Retired Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, the president and CEO of National Mounted Warfare Foundation, said previously the museum would be receiving some exhibits from the 1st Cavalry Division and 3rd Cavalry Regiment museums.

“We still have to get the exhibits put together, and the Army is working on that,” Funk said. “The exhibits should be ready by late 2022 or early 2023.”

Touted as tourism draw for the Killeen-Fort Hood area, officials expect the museum to bring in 265,000 visitors per year, most of them who live outside the area.

At the museum’s groundbreaking in November 2020, Crouch spoke after the ceremony on a day long in the making.

“Today is a day that’s been almost 10 years in the making. Our foundation, the National Mounted Warfare Foundation, was founded in early 2011 with the mission to plan for, to raise the funds for and to build the National Mounted Warrior Museum, and we are here today breaking ground on the first phase of that museum,” Crouch said at the time. “We wanted something that would honor all of the soldiers and units that have served here at Fort Hood over the years and we really wanted to make it a world class facility that makes this community and this installation proud.”

When regarding the subsequent phases after Phase I; Phase II will expand the permanent exhibit gallery space by 11,000 square feet. Phase III will be the construction of two 1,500 square foot multi-purpose conference/classrooms, Phase IV will be the construction of the museum gift shop and foundation staff offices, Phase V will be the construction of staff offices for the museum curators, Phase VI will be an upgraded outdoor amphitheater and Phase VII will be an additional pair of multi-functional conference/classrooms.