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Six-figure donation

Lincoln-to-Library project gets $112,000 donation from Edwin and the late Virginia (Stamper) Van Surksum

Published: Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 10:45 a.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013 8:50 a.m. CDT
This house — appraised at $112,000 — was recently donated to the Creston Library Board by Edwin and the late Virginia (Stamper) Van Surksum. The home is located in a residential neighborhood on the west side of Omaha. The revenue from the sale of the home will go directly toward the Lincoln-to-Library project.

Creston Library Board recently received a six-figure donation to be used toward their Lincoln-to-Library project.

But, the large donation wasn’t in the form of cash or check.

Instead, the board was given a house located in a residential neighborhood on the west side of Omaha. The house — donated by Edwin and the late Virginia (Stamper) Van Surksum — appraises at $112,000.

“I’ve made two substantial donations to this library project — one being this house,” Edwin said, “because my wife both attended and taught at Lincoln School and when she learned it may become a library she became rather excited. However, she didn’t live long enough to make her wishes known so I’m trying to follow through with those wishes.”

Virginia — daughter of Virgil Eugene and Lena Carrie (Allen) Stamper — was born in Creston in 1930. She graduated from Creston High School, then attended Creston Junior College and completed her education at Drake University. She began her teaching career in Creston in 1952.

She married Edwin in 1961. They moved to Omaha and she continued teaching at District 66 Schools in Omaha.

“She came to Omaha with me,” Edwin said, “but she never forgot her roots. She loved Creston. Look in your records. She was a subscriber of the Creston newspaper for 50 years. This library at Lincoln School was important to her and I’m going to do what I can to make it come to fruition.”

The library board plans to put the house up for sale once the title transfer between the two parties is finalized. All revenue from the sale will go directly toward the Lincoln-to-Library project.

Ann Coulter, president of Creston Library Board, said the donation was a “wonderful surprise” and hopes the large donation will stimulate fundraising for the Lincoln-to-Library project.

“They had donated toward our project before,” Coulter said, “and did again because they truly believe in the value this new library would add to the Creston community.”

Project details

The Lincoln-to-Library project is estimated to cost $1.8 million. Project details include moving the library from its current location on West Howard Street to the Lincoln School building on West Jefferson Street.

The current library has 7,800 square feet.

Meanwhile, Lincoln School has an estimated 17,000 square feet of space — which Coulter said — will allow the library to expand its collection with new materials, expand current programs and implement new programs.

“The library has always been a center of knowledge for our community,” Coulter said. “We just do not have the space to do it anymore at our current location.”

The $1.8 million raised would go toward renovating the old school building to include space for a cultural center, social networking areas, technology training centers, conference and community rooms, children area, teen zones, quiet study and group study area.

The board began fundraising in 2010.

To date, Coulter said the library board has raised just more than $400,000. Coulter said the board voted last week to hire Marketing Kinetics — a marketing and businesses consultant company from Lamoni — to help with fundraising efforts in the future.

“The contract has not been signed yet,” Coulter said, “but this company has good reviews locally and nationally. They will review what we’ve done so far and help us with the next steps in the fundraising process.”

Coulter said all donations to the project are tax-deductible.

Coulter reiterated the goal of the library board is to raise all funds privately. To make a donation, stop at the library’s current location on West Howard Street.

For more information, call the library at 641-782-2277.

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