City leaders on groundbreaking of new Sloss Furnaces Center

After a decade of work, a Museum and Visitors Center at Sloss Furnaces will soon take shape. City leaders and the Sloss Foundation had an "iron" pour Tuesday afternoon.

The Birmingham City Council approved partial funding for the project to the tune of nearly $4 million. The Visitor Center will cost just over $5 million. The 10,000 sq. feet-building will feature exhibit space as well as offices.

Mayor William Bell says the facility will tell the story of the Magic City through the experience of its workers. The museum space will use science, history and interactive technology about the iron-making process. The site's manager says Sloss Furnaces was once the largest manufacturer of merchant pig iron in the world.

"This will be an interactive facility. This facility, that will be built, will do exactly that. It will create a new dynamic that we have not had before, and marketing opportunities that we haven't had before," Bell says.

Sloss Furnaces is the second most-visited free tourist attraction in Birmingham, hosting more than 180,000 people every year.{}{}{}{}

The building is expected to be finished by the summer of 2013.{}{}{}