COLORADO SPRINGS — Planners of a military museum outside Fort Carson need $5.5 million in order to break ground on time this spring.

The (Colorado Springs) Gazette reports that the Mountain Post Historical Association wants to expand a museum outside Gate 1 to pay homage to each unit that has served at Fort Carson since the post was founded in 1942.

The association has raised $500,000. Additional money has been pledged to the project, and the Historical Association president hopes the donors come through as the museum's target ground-breaking date nears.

The museum's budget was cut to $6 million in 2011 from an initial proposal of more than $18 million. The change came after the Army pulled nearly $10 million from the project due to budget constraints.

"This is a tough time to be raising money anywhere," said retired Army Lt. Gen. Ed Soriano.

The association is considering five construction bids and is expected to award a contract for the museum expansion in December or January.

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Weather and big donors permitting, the museum will open its doors in the spring of 2014.

Artifacts that will be housed in the 12,800-square-foot museum currently sit in a smaller temporary museum next to the post's visitors center.

The smaller museum houses a variety of military artifacts that will be featured in the bigger museum, including World War I and Vietnam War memorabilia.

The temporary museum, which opened in the summer of 2011, cost $750,000 to construct and was paid for with Army funds.