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SHS Fund drive tops $25,000!
The Staples Historical Society's fund drive to assist in second floor renovation and in the installation of an elevator at the historic Northern Pacific depot topped $25,000 as January came to a close. The SHS's total at that time was $25,328, according to Tom Crawford, SHS vice president and fund drive chair.
Over $5,000 in additional donations were received in January. Included in that total was the second $2,500 donation from the Staples Host Lions club. The local civic club had okayed a $5,000 donation last year, but made it in two separate checks, the first coming last September.
Crawford said the local fund drive has received, since its kickoff on August 1, a total of 109 donations, with the size of the donations ranging from $5 to $5,000. Donations came from individuals and from businesses, both local and from outside the Staples area. Several contributions were made in memory of loved ones, many of those veterans of service to the Northern Pacific or Burlington Northern railroads. While gifts of any amount are appreciated, all those who donated $100 or more will have their names placed on a plaque to be prominently displayed in the depot.
December saw the mailing of a fund drive letter to more than 400 prospective donors, many to people living in the Staples area but also additional letters to Staples High School alumni scattered around the nation. Contributions in December and January raised the total received from $14,755 at the beginning of December to the $25,000 figure.
Although the fund drive has reached its stated goal, contributions are still being accepted in any amount, according to Tom Kajer, SHS president. He noted there is still a need for more funds for the second floor portion of the depot renovation project. All proceeds of the fund drive will be reserved for either the elevator or for renovation of the SHS museum area, which is planned for the east end of the second floor of the depot.
The renovation work has been the goal since the SHS acquired ownership of the depot in 2008. Although some issues are still being resolved, there will be changes at the depot in 2014 as a major renovation project is about to begin. Final plans and specifications are 90 percent completed, with approvals currently being sought from a host of state and federal agencies.
"Our goal, and that of our architectural partners, is to have construction plans in the hands of potential contractors in the first half of 2014," Crawford said. Plans developed by Collaborative Design Group architects call for major improvements in heating and cooling, plumbing, electrical and other areas of the depot, with the majority of the work in the lobby, former women's waiting room and former baggage room, all rooms on the first floor. One existing first floor restroom will be torn out and replaced with two restrooms.
That first floor work alone will require the majority of the $500,000 that the SHS has slated for the project.
The additional funds will be needed for any work on the second floor, where the SHS plans to house it's museum collections plus areas for offices and other tenants. An elevator to serve the second floor has been estimated at a total cost of $110,000 by Collaborative Design Group. "This is why we have sought help in raising more funds for the elevator and second floor museum area," Crawford said.
Efforts to raise additional funds for the project are ongoing. Grant applications have been submitted to a number of regional foundations, but many of those have replied that they have other priorities. An application has recently been submitted to the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Foundation for elevator funding.
*Photos courtesy of Larry Denny
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