With a brief statement at the end of a board meeting Monday, Richland Public Facilities District officials announced that Kimberly Camp will be departing as the district's CEO.
"With the building site secured under the strong leadership of Kimberly Camp, Ms. Camp and the board have mutually decided to transition the day-to-day operations involved with the next stage of the project during construction to a new CEO," said board President Joel Rogo.
"However, the board looks forward to continuing collaboration with Ms. Camp and is deeply grateful for the success that she has brought to the project."
Camp said after the meeting that she agreed to stay on as the board searches for a new CEO, but that her departure would be "no later than the end of the year."
Rogo said a search hasn't yet started.
Camp was hired in summer 2007 to oversee development of the 61,000-square-foot Hanford Reach Interpretive Center, which is intended to tell the story of the region's geology, flora, fauna and history, including Hanford's role in winning the Cold War, and is expected to draw 65,000 visitors each year.
The project has been in the works since 2002, but has encountered some problems along the way, most notably when project supporters learned they wouldn't be able to build at Columbia Point south, at the confluence of the Columbia and Yakima rivers.
Objections by area tribes, coupled with strings attached to federal money, triggered an intensive review process that officials ultimately decided they couldn't overcome. That resulted in a decision to attempt to get clearance from the Army Corps of Engineers to build in the west end of Columbia Park.
After about a two-year delay, the project cleared some significant milestones this summer when the Corps approved a sublease between Richland and the facilities district that will allow the museum to be built on land in Columbia Park that the city leases from the Corps.
In another important step, the Corps also announced completion of an environmental review and found the proposed project is in compliance with federal environmental laws.
Earlier this month, the facilities district broke ground on the first phase of construction -- involving installation of utility lines and construction of a driveway. Project supporters now are focused on raising the rest of the money needed to build and operate the building.
Camp said she didn't know where her career might take her next, or whether she would continue to work with the facilities district in some capacity as the interpretive center progresses.
"That'll be up to them," she said, referring to the board.
She said her immediate plans involve finishing and editing a book she is writing about The Barnes Foundation.
Prior to coming to the Tri-Cities, Camp was president and CEO of the foundation in Pennsylvania.
The foundation is home to an extensive collection of impressionist, post-impressionist and early modern paintings, including works by Picasso, Matisse, Czanne, Renoir and Modigliani, as well as a collection of African sculptures.
Camp's previous experience in museums and the arts includes a stint as president of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit and as director of The Experimental Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution.
-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org