March 3, 2008

Duke Energy Foundation Gives $1 Million for Museum of Life and the Environment

ROCK HILL, S.C., March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The Duke Energy Foundation is giving $1 million for development of the Museum of Life and the Environment on the Catawba River at I-77 in York County.

The museum and its surrounding park will tell the story of the river and feature its continuing impact on the area and its people. Duke Energy's first hydroelectric dam is near the site that is on the outskirts of Fort Mill.

The gift, announced Monday (March 3, 2008), is to the Culture & Heritage Foundation that is developing the new attraction on 400 acres given ten years ago by Jane Spratt McColl of Charlotte, NC.

The museum is expected to cost $50 million and be built in phases; over half of the total has been given or pledged or is anticipated from development of land surrounding the facility.

"Duke Energy's commitment to energy conservation and sustainable resource management fits perfectly with the mission of the Museum of Life and the Environment. We are pleased to support the development of this new environmental center that will both delight and inform thousands of visitors each year," said Duke Energy Carolinas President Ellen Ruff.

Kanawha, a residential and commercial community that will be the first large-scale development in the Carolinas to integrate sustainable technology, materials and practices, is being developed on 340 acres around the museum by a partnership between the Culture & Heritage Foundation and Cherokee Investment Partners of Raleigh, NC.

The new museum building and grounds along the river are designed by William McDonough + Partners of Charlottesville, VA, arguably the world's foremost "green" architect. The building exhibits will feature interactive experiments with water and plant life, green building techniques, and a state- of-the-art planetarium.

Visitor experiences will include a river walk that provides one mile of new public access to one of the few free flowing sections of the river. This walk will be a part of the Carolina Thread Trail, the planned 15-county walking trail to connect the greater Charlotte area. Important archeological sites such as an l8th century Catawba Indian village and gold mining pits within the Kanawha community also will be accessible to museum visitors.

Culture & Heritage Foundation President Frank S. Barnes, III, said the planned facility "will help us think differently about the choices we make each day that affect the social, economic and environmental future of the region." He said the museum exhibit design will be based "on action learning -- the delight of learning by doing."

Even before the museum building is in place, the site will serve as a location for museum programming that sets the tone for the new facility. "The story that the site has to tell is a fascinating story and one that will provide first insight into the environmental history of this region," Barnes said.

MB Kahn Construction Management of Columbia is working with engineers and other consultants to develop plans and timelines for the museum project including the start of construction of the first phase.

The Culture & Heritage Foundation is the support arm of the York County Culture & Heritage Commission, which operates a linked system of cultural facilities -- Historic Brattonsville, the McCelvey Center, the Museum of York County and the planned Museum of Life and the Environment.   

The Culture & Heritage Museums are managed by the York County Culture and Heritage Commission (CHC), chartered in 1997 by the York County, South Carolina, Council. The Culture and Heritage Foundation supports the CHC, its museums and the future Museum of Life and the Environment on the Catawba River at I-77.

Duke Energy Foundation

CONTACT: Sig Huitt of Carolina Public Relations, +1-704-374-9300, forthe Duke Energy Foundation

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