IRVING, Texas (AP) - The University of Dallas withdrew its bid for George W. Bush's presidential library Monday, citing the library site selection committee's exclusive talks with nearby Southern Methodist University.
Last month SMU emerged as the apparent winner for the library with the announcement of the negotiations, putting it ahead of the other two finalists, the University of Dallas and Baylor University in Waco.
University of Dallas officials said Monday that the school wanted to release some of the partners that had committed to the project, including the city of Irving's promise of $50 million in hotel tax revenues. The 3,000-student Catholic university also wanted to be free to develop the site it had set aside for the library, a sprawling 300 wooded acres with the Trinity River running through it.
"Our decision to withdraw from the selection process is not a loss for our university; this is not a failure. Instead, we think this is a tremendous success story for us," President Frank Lazarus said. "This process has propelled us into the national stage and our university is now characterized by a new vision for a very bright future."
President Bush said on Thursday that he was "leaning heavily toward SMU" and was close to a decision. First lady Laura Bush attended the 11,000-student, private university. The Bushes are Methodists.
A final decision is expected within months.
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