MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- Some big announcements are coming out of the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan as the local attraction gets ready to celebrate its one year anniversary.
A media event was held at the center Wednesday, showcasing a new prairie photo exhibit from world-renowned National Geographic photographer Jim Brandenburg. The exhibit runs through May 26th.
The city of Manhattan also named a new Flint Hills Discovery Center director this week. Fred Goss was selected from an initial pool of more than 45 applicants identified through a national search and was chosen from four finalists that went through an extensive interview and selection process. Goss starts on May 1st. He currently serves as Assistant Superintended for the Missouri State Parks. He replaces Bob Workman who resigned from the position to become the new director of the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University.
Manhattan City Manager Ron Fehr said Goss has great experience and was the right fit for the job.
“We want somebody to continue the work that Bob and the staff have done and expand that within the region because we truly want the Discovery Center to be a portal to the region that folks can get out and explore some of the great amenities that are out in the Flint Hills,” he said.
Officials also announced that the center received a LEED green building certification for their environmental design and energy efficiency, including their lighting and geothermal heating/cooling system.
“It’s all part of the message to be in tune with your environment, to not waste your environment and we also wanted to provide an example of the things that can be incorporated in your design process that typically cost a little bit more upfront but you get long term operational reductions because of it,” Ron Fehr told WIBW.
In its first year, the Flint Hills Discovery Center surpassed expectations with more than 72,000 visitors, more than 3,500 members and 150 special events.
On April 13th, the center will mark its first birthday with free admission, concessions, games, prizes and family activities with a “go green” theme.