Construction to begin in spring, completion expected in fall.

A dream of a Pratt woman is about to become a reality.

"I've had this idea in my head, it seems like forever, but maybe only 15 or 20 years," Mimi Filley said Friday at a groundbreaking ceremony for an art museum to house the collection she and her late husband, Dr. Vernon Filley collected, and to be named in his honor.

The Vernon Filley Art Foundation was established as a not-for-profit organization several years ago, and began the process of finding a location and raising funds. After looking at several options, the Foundation and the Filley Family, Mimi and son, Dr. Warren Filley, selected the site south of the Pratt Public Library.

Sam Frey, with the Wichita architectural firm of Schaefer, Johnson, Cox, Frey, explained the plan to "build fairly simply a facility to house, preserve and exhibit the collection" and opportunities for "synergies" between the art museum and the library.

Builder Doug Knight anticipated that construction might begin in March.

The Foundation has set a budget of $600,000 with $200,000 allocated for furniture, fixtures and landscaping, leaving funds left to begin operation.

"Mimi, as the construction of this art museum progresses and opens later this year, the people of Pratt will realize what a tremendous gift you have given to this community," said Foundation chair Stan Reimer. "The art museum will make available some very fine art for our citizens and especially for the children and students of the area."