Battelle pledges $1 million for CREHST expansion, Reach interpretive center
December 06, 2002
RICHLAND, Wash. –
Battelle announced today that it is pledging $1 million to a local effort to build a new riverfront facility that will incorporate a Hanford Reach National Monument Interpretive Center as well as greatly expanded Columbia River Exhibition of History, Science and Technology (CREHST) museum.
The Battelle gift to CREHST was announced at a Richland ceremony this morning. At the same ceremony, CREHST and the Friends of the Hanford Reach National Monument (FHRNM), a local citizens advisory committee, also announced its intent to join forces to raise $10 million to design and construct the combined museum and interpretive center. CREHST and FHRNM leaders say the Battelle gift will kick-start the $10 million capital campaign.
The $1 million Battelle gift will be made over five years and will be dependent on CREHST and FHRNM raising $2 million in matching private funds. In addition to the Reach interpretive center, the funds will be used to provide additional room for CREHST's cultural and historical exhibits on the Columbia Basin.
CREHST and FHRNM hope to break ground on the joint facility by January 2004 on a site near Columbia Point that is leased from the City of Richland.
Battelle, with headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, has operated the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland for the federal government since the laboratory's inception in 1965.
"An important part of Battelle's culture - and, by extension, PNNL's as well - is active participation in improving the quality of life in the communities where we live and work," said Battelle President and CEO, Carl Kohrt. "This joint facility celebrates the history of the Columbia Basin and will attract thousands of tourists to the Tri-Cities. It will be a landmark not only for its content, but also for the collaboration that brought it about. It promises to be a tremendous community resource for Richland."
"Our region's growth is driving increased interest in cultural activities. The generous pledge from Battelle and this joint effort not only reflect this interest, but are great predictors for a successful project," said Sandy Matheson, Environmental Science and Technology Foundation Board chair. "We're enormously grateful to Battelle for their leadership, support and confidence in this project and our community. We look forward to working with the Friends of the Hanford Reach National Monument and more community partners as we go forward."
CREHST traces its beginning back to 1962 when the Atomic Energy Commission - a predecessor to today's Department of Energy - opened a visitor's center in Richland. Over the years the visitor's center grew into a full-fledged science and history museum. In 1996 ownership was transferred from DOE to the Environmental Science and Technology Foundation, and a year later the museum moved into its present facility near the Richland Community Center.
Today, CREHST's mission is to collect, preserve, interpret and exhibit the historical, cultural, environmental and geographic assets of the Columbia Basin from the ice age to the present. It also serves as a science and educational resource. The 8,000-square-foot facility is operated by the ESTF, its Board of Directors, consisting of 14 community leaders. CREHST serves more than 45,000 visitors annually, including off-site educational outreach. It has a full-time staff of six and 35 volunteers.