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THE MOST COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND FACTUAL ANSWERS
ABOUT THE STORY LIBRARY EXPANSION PROJECT
1. How was the gift of the property presented to the library?
The Story Community Library, Inc. approached the Roberts Family in August of 2017 about a possible gift to Story Community Library, Inc. (a 501C3 tax exempt corporation) of the coffee shop property for a possible future expansion of the library. On August 9, 2018, one year later, GCR Services WY/CO, LLC (The Roberts family) Warranty Deeded over to Story Community Library, Inc., subject to the terms of an unrecorded letter agreement, the property including the house and coffee shop, as a 501C3 gift for a total consideration of $100.00. The subject Letter Agreement sets up for the Roberts the ability to use the house for their employees for a period of time without the Story Community Library, Inc. sustaining any additional costs of operation or liability. The Letter Agreement contains a hold harmless provision that protects the Story Community Library, Inc. from any additional expense or liability as part of the transaction. Other than those conditions for the continued use of the house there are no additional strings or obligations set on Story Community Library, Inc. for the use of the property.
2. Who is The Story Community Library, Inc.?
The Story Community Library, Inc., is a 501C3 tax free holding corporation that was created under Articles of Incorporation, on April 10, 1961 and was created to provide library services for the use and benefit of all residents of the Story Community and for this purpose “to purchase and loan books, objects of art, conduct courses, and to engage in educational activities in the community”. Story Community Library, Inc. acts under the authority created by its By-Laws, revised May 24, 2010, and is run by its nine Board of Directors. The current Board of Directors of Story Library Inc. are: 1.) Ramona Culp, President; 2.) Marc Randal Strahn, Vice-President; 3.) Caroline Houck, Secretary; 4.) Paula Young, Treasurer; 5.) Rick Dare, Director; 6.) Al Winters, Director; 7.) Bill Doughty, Director; 8.) Jo Elliot, Director; and 9.) Mary Durante, Director. Story Community Library, Inc. currently meets monthly at the library and the meetings are, and always have been, open to the public.
3. Who owns the Story library today and how is it managed?
The simple answer is the Sheridan County Library Board of Trustees (Sheridan County Fulmer Library) by a recorded QuitClaim Deed from Story Community Library, Inc., dated June 17, 1997 owns the Story library.
Since June of 1997 the Story Library is, and has been owned by the county under the Fulmer Library system. The Story Community Library, Inc., as you all know it today was originally deeded the property where the current library sets by Dr. Edgar K. Morrow in July of 1963 and through various correction documents by Sheridan and Moreen Hopkins in May of 1969. Dr. Morrow and his estate have a deed restriction that the property must always be used as a library. At the time that the addition of the back room was put on the existing library, June 17, 1997, Story Community Library, Inc., under a QuitClaim Deed, recorded in Book 386, Page 372, deeded the property and its attachments, without reservation, to Sheridan County Library Board of Trustees (aka Sheridan County Fulmer Library). The Fulmer County Library Board of Trustees own the property and the attached building which is our library since 1997. The property is managed under a current Lease Agreement, dated April 30, 2017, by and between the Sheridan County Public Library Board of Trustees (aka Sheridan County Fulmer Library) as Lessor and The Story Community Library, Inc., as Lessee. The current Lease Agreement covers the property and the library building as we know it and gives Effective Control of the property to The Story Community Library, Inc. If ever the county decides not to use this property as part of the county library system, the property, the building, and the fixtures will revert back to The Story Community Library, Inc. Under this Lease Agreement, The Story Community Library, Inc. “shall have the right, from time to time, to make such alterations, structural or otherwise, to the leased property as the Story Community Library, Inc. deems desirable in the conduct of its business and as shall be reasonably necessary or appropriate in Story’s judgement for the conduct thereon of its business.” The Sheridan County Library Board of Trustees (aka Sheridan County Fulmer Library) is responsible for providing insurance, taxes, utilities, staff salaries, equipment and furniture, books and library material. They cover basically everything inside the walls of the library necessary to run a library under the Sheridan County Fulmer Library system. We, the Story Community Library, Inc., are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the building and the property, at our sole expense, including taking care of the property, sidewalks and curbs and we will make all reasonable and necessary repairs to the premises, interior and exterior, structural and non-structural, ordinary and extraordinary, unforeseen and foreseen. In short, if the county no longer wishes to provide that service to the town of Story, Story Community Library, Inc. can repossess the property from the Fulmer Library system for the price of $1.00.
4. Is the expansion project needed? Why do you want to expand the library when it is already wonderful?
We are outgrowing the library and the services that can be provided at every level. With the continued growth of our community and the school system we need to provide more space for books, movies and other media materials while also providing additional computer services and media kiosk areas so that we can provide expanded services to our Story kids and all who frequent the library. There currently is no real space in the existing library to enjoy the library. We have outgrown the current meeting room and the need for a larger multi-purpose room that can supply us with additional class space for guest lectures and outside services from the colleges, seniors and other organizations has been requested. With limited internet service to many of Story, the library is the only place that many of our part time residents can access this service and work from their computers and that need keeps growing. We also have been approached to receive gifted collections of older and rarer books, art, and other donated family treasures to be used by the people of Story and currently we turn those requests down for lack of storage space and security of those gifts. Our library is wonderful, but this gift by the Roberts Family will allow us to make it even more wonderful for all of Story.
5. How big is the coffee shop compared with what we already have in the back room of the library today?
The coffee shop has an inside area, including the bathroom of 689 square feet. The back room of the library as it is currently used in the main area (without the hallways, bathroom and existing closets and mechanical room) is 600 square feet.
6. Why are you considering selling the coffee shop or taking it down?
When the property was gifted by the Roberts, they were told that this was a likely possibility because it does not meet the growth needs of the library. While the coffee shop could serve as an additional meeting room, the building presents both security and supervisory issues for little additional space. The library staff feels strongly that the current meeting room of the library would still be required with or without the coffee shop and therefore not allowing the expansion of services, programs or facilities for future growth of the library. If left as it is standing, as an independent building, all we end up with is another small meeting room in Story which we currently don’t need. Finally, The Story Community Library Inc. looks at its charges to provide enhanced library services and not simply to provide another meeting room without the corresponding additional library services attached. The coffee shop as is, does not meet the design parameters necessary for a library expansion project and the Story Community Library, Inc. has no interest in acting as a landlord and assuming the liability for some other business like a coffee shop or other business enterprise.
7. What problems exist with joining the coffee shop to the existing library?
Remember, from our discussion above, you have two separate properties owned by two separate groups and one of them is a part of Sheridan County. They don’t just allow you to simply join two buildings like that together without bringing both buildings in to compliance under current building standards. We looked at attaching a closed passageway between the buildings but it does not work from a staffing and security matter. Although Fulmer totally supports this project and our potential expansion efforts, they have made it clear that they do not have any money that they will contribute to the building or renovation process. By the time you look at properly joining the two totally different buildings and bringing everything up to code, it simply is faster and less expensive removing the coffee shop and adding an addition on to the existing library. We can make the expansion bigger then we can have with just the coffee shop and we get a bigger bang for our dollars invested.
8. Is the conceptual expansion of the library, the only plan that the library has looked at?
No. We are looking at several different ideas and seeking further community input. Remember we have been working on this project, and this gift, for well over a year now and we have explored many different ideas and courses of action. The architects that we have retained for this project are the same architects that designed the Fulmer Library in Sheridan as well as the Brinton Art Museum. It is their opinion that the easiest and cheapest way to get the maximum return on our investment is to simply add a 40X45-foot room expansion onto the west side of the existing library. This would be about three times the size of the current library back meeting room. To do that we would need to move the coffee shop from its current location or take it down. If we ultimately decide to move in this direction, we could, if we want, expand into the existing back room and meet many of the goals we are looking at as well as provide a much larger and expanded meeting area and educational space for the public.
9. Why are other outside expenses, such as surveying, architectural drawings and engineering services necessary for this project and who will be paying for these?
The property needs to be surveyed so the boundaries, structures and area owned by the library can be defined. The survey is also required for the engineering and design parameters for any expansion as well as the information required to meet county regulations and permits for such improvements. Architectural and engineering drawings are required for county permits and determining the final costs for grant and bid package information. Funds have already been raised through donations that will contribute to those costs.
10. What is the estimated cost of this project and how will funding be raised?
The general costs for a building expansion as currently planned is approximately $250.00 per square foot. The ultimate interior design will affect that estimate. If a 40X45 foot expansion is planned the cost will approach $450,000.00 with additional costs associated with civil projects such as streets, sidewalks, sewer facilities, etc. Once the surveying and associated engineering work is completed then the architects can give us a final project cost. At that time, The Board of Directors of The Story Community Library, Inc. will make the decision on how, and if, we will proceed. If we feel those costs are too high for us to handle we will shelve the project until such time as the economics, make more sense. Fund-raising has already started and the funds for this project will come from private donations, grants and foundational support. There will be no increase in taxes, and no burden on the people of Story other than the gifts and donations that people want to give for this project. We hope the people who enjoy
Story will support the project financially and give what they can.
11. Who is working on this project and can I be involved in the process?
Currently there are close to forty people working on various aspects of this project. Besides the nine directors of the Story Community Library, Inc., There is a Master Planning Committee for the project made up of the chairman of the various sub-committees. Currently there is a Fund-Raising Committee, and Architectural and Engineering Committee, an Interior Design Committee and a Programing and Special Projects Committee. These committees meet regularly and sometimes several times a month. Anyone who wants to dedicate the time and energy can be involved. We are always looking for additional people. This is your Story’s Library and we are doing this to make an already great library better for years to come. If you want to be involved talk to any of the Board of Directors or Stephanie at the library and we will get in touch with you. Come be a part of your community and your library.
12. Will you use local contractors and services to do the work on this project?
Following completion of the design and engineering work, construction bid packages will be prepared and qualified local or regional contractors will be asked to bid. The general contractor chosen will make the determination as to all sub-contractors for the project.
13. How long will the project take to complete?
It depends when all the pieces come together and how much we ultimately need to raise for the project. Current estimates are 1+ years for design and fund raising and then the next building season for construction.
14. What will you do with the property if you can’t immediately raise the necessary funds?
The coffee shop will still be removed and either badly needed additional parking or a grassy gathering place will be put in place until such time as the funds can be raised and the expansion completed. The key from the beginning was to possess the property so that we could control our future when it was needed. Because of the gift from the Roberts Family that goal has been realized and the expansion of services will take place when the time is right.
15. If you decide to proceed with the expansion project what will happen to the rest of the property?
It is our hope, through additional master planning, that some expanded parking and outdoor venues will ultimately happen. The property is so convenient to the downtown area of Story that a park atmosphere with outdoor seating and ways to further enjoy the library experience are all possibilities. Thoughts are currently being discussed on the eventual use of the house at the back of the property. Maybe it could be used as an expanded part of the history museum or as a potential place to store and review donated books and materials. Not much thought has gone into that aspect as of yet because of the current arrangement with the Roberts Family but at some future time more master planning to maximize the rate of return of this gift will be considered.
16. What is the vision for the total gift?
Hopefully when everything is done we will have an esthetically pleasing addition to the town with ample resources to provide a location for programs, lectures, and additional expanded student and youth services. In addition, it would be nice to have an outdoor seating area behind the structure where visitors can not only read but also have access to the internet.
17. Will some, or all, of the gifted property need to ultimately be conveyed/deeded to Sheridan County for the Fulmer Library System?
Yes. Since the Fulmer Library system currently owns the building and the property the library sits on, some or all of the property at some future time will be deeded over to them with the same abilities to revert back to Story Community Library, Inc. as we have on the existing structure.
18. How are you keeping the community of Story informed about the project?
We are using all sources to keep the community as informed as we can. We have done direct mailings, postings all over town, social media, written communiques at the library, newspapers, verbally and through town and committee meetings. Information about this project is everywhere and all you have to do is tune into it if you want to know more.
19. Are the donations made to this project tax exempt to me?
Yes. All donations made to this project are 100% tax deductible as The Story Library, Inc. is a 501C3 corporation. Later this fall different types and ways to donate will be made available as the Fund-Raising Committee gets its arms around the total cost of the project.
20. Will this project put an additional financial burden on the people of Story?
No. Think of this like public television. No one is required to contribute but if you feel moved to this program and can afford to do so please consider helping out. The faster we raise the necessary funds we will need the sooner we will be done with the project. Give only what you can and take the tax advantage if you need one.
21. Will there be enough funds for the upkeep of the addition?
That is the responsibility of the Story Community Library Board, Inc. They are currently well funded and they will continue to meet these needs just as they have in the past. Once the property is transferred into the Fulmer Library system, the costs under our current lease agreement (set out in number 3 above) will be absorbed into the County library system and we will only be responsible for the same expenses as before on a new addition to the library.
Respectively submitted by Marc Strahn, Story Community Library, Vice-President and members working on this project. We hope this answers some of your questions.