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May 29, 2014

A report conducted by the University of Kansas' (KU) Jayhawk Consulting team was presented at a meeting of the Cosmosphere's Governing Board Monday, May 19, 2014. The team evaluated the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center's economic impact on the state of Kansas as a cultural and educational institution. The research was conducted to assist the Revitalization Task Force in evaluating the final report from Verner Johnson, Inc. and presenting a plan for revitalization to the Cosmosphere's Governing and Foundation Boards.

Since the beginning of the museum's history, when Patty Carey first had the dream of starting a planetarium with nothing but a used starball, the Cosmosphere has been a stand-out institution in the Hutchinson community and the state of Kansas. From its inception in 1962, the Hutchinson Planetarium grew and changed into what the world now knows as the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, the only Smithsonian-affiliated museum in Kansas. A facility housing the largest combined collection of U.S. and Russian space artifacts in the world, a state-of-the-art digital Dome theater, a planetarium, interactive live shows, and STEM-based camp programs that transform the lives of those who attend, both academically and by encouraging personal growth.

The facility, as it stands today, was evaluated in the KU study. The team used reliable data from several trusted sources (US Census, Research and Innovative Technology Administration - Bureau of Transportation, Internal Revenue Service, previous studies, and the Cosmosphere's point-of-sale zip code reports) to supplement the findings in the final report, which shows the Cosmosphere's financial impact to the state of Kansas.

"The Cosmosphere is an extraordinarily unique facility and a destination attraction," said Wallace Meyer, Jr., Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at KU.

The impact is attributed not only to money spent at the Cosmosphere itself, but to everything visitors do in the state of Kansas while on a trip to the space museum - visitors who hail primarily from the state of Kansas, but travel from all across the country and even internationally to visit the Cosmosphere. These things include attending other museums or attractions, lodging in hotels, food services and drinking places, automotive repair and maintenance, business support services, and other retail outlets visited during the trip. Also included in the economic impact is employment related directly to money the Cosmosphere brings to the state. The report estimated that, because of the aforementioned transactions by visitors coming to the Cosmosphere, the facility directly and indirectly supports the employment of 2,200 people. These employees, in turn, have a collective purchasing power of $70 million.

What the research indicated was that the Cosmosphere is a major contributor to the economic health of the state of Kansas, bringing in $103 million in tourism dollars annually. The final conclusion of the report states: The Cosmosphere generates significant economic and tax revenue impact and is the driving force of many other economic activities within the state of Kansas, and that without the Cosmosphere, the state of Kansas would suffer incredible losses in the following areas:

○ $103M in direct and indirect economic contributions

○ $13.1M in federal tax yield

○ $14.1M in state & local tax yield

"The importance of the Cosmophere extends beyond that which is offered inside our doors," said Richard Hollowell, Cosmosphere CEO. "The community is fortunate to have this world-class museum honoring the past and inspiring the future of space exploration. This report shows, without question, that the Cosmosphere is economically vital to our state, and the research confirms that importance."

Jayhawk Consulting addresses client challenges to growth and provides access to high quality analysis and project development as well as a source of new employee talent. Furthermore, Jayhawk Consulting gives the University's exceptional students the opportunity to acquire hands-on experiential learning.  Jayhawk Consulting represents a low cost, low-risk way to solve a business's needs. The team works in all business disciplines and engages University expertise to address most client issues. In addition to its commercial efforts, Jayhawk Consulting also undertakes projects which will stimulate economic development and accelerate Kansas growth through entrepreneurial success as part of the KU Entrepreneurship Works for Kansas initiative. KU Entrepreneurship Works for Kansas is a federally and alumni match funded program to improve the economic and employment conditions of distressed communities throughout the state of Kansas. Over the past six years since its inception, Jayhawk Consulting has provided consulting assistance to over 72 organizations with diverse business models and challenges.