Durbin Library Barn Raisin’ Gets New Building Off To A Great Start
Durbin, WV – If you close your eyes and use your imagination, you can almost picture the people perusing the bookshelves and hear the laughter and camaraderie of a group in the community room. That’s the image that came to my mind as I stood on a concrete pad next to the Durbin Post Office, surrounded by the walls of what will become the new Durbin Library and Community Center. Those walls went up during a barn raisin’ last Saturday in Durbin.
About 35 volunteers came out to help raise the structured insulated panels that form the outside walls of the building. One of those volunteers is Denise Campbell, who represents Pocahontas County in the West Virginia House of Delegates.
“This is my first experience with building anything of any type, and I have mastered using a cordless drill” says Campbell. “I said the library hasn’t even been opened but it’s already teaching people, so I just feel like I have had an education in a little bit of construction today.”
Pocahontas’ other House of Delegates representative Bill Hartman was also on hand to help. One of those most excited to see the walls go up is Judy Fuller, a long time organizer, supporter and fundraiser for the Durbin library.
“This is fantastic, great; all the walls are up now” she says. “The exterior walls is all that we are putting up, the roof trusses come on Wednesday though. So there will be a roof on it by this time next week. Everybody just jumped in; each crew helped each other and we’ve done it.”
Lending construction and organizational expertise is Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity, based in Cherry Grove, WV. Director of Development John Connor says they began serving Pendleton County in 1988. Last July, they merged with the Habitat for Humanity organization in Greenbrier County to expand their services into Pocahontas and Greenbrier.
“We are excited to be able to partner alongside the Pocahontas County Free Libraries to be able to join them in this Durbin project” says Connor. “It’s all about community; Habitat’s all about serving the community and we’re happy to be a part.”
In exchange for their help, Habitat will also be able to use the new library a few weeks each year to house Habitat project volunteers.
“One of the things Almost Heaven Habitat has been doing since our very founding is inviting outside community groups from churches, colleges and high schools from around the country to come to our neck of the woods [and] stay with us” says Connor. “We currently operate a volunteer center in Cherry Grove, over in Pendleton County; and we are going to do something similar to that utilizing the community room space that’s being built in here.”
Connor says they anticipate building the first Almost Heaven Habitat home in Pocahontas in 2012, although location and other details have yet to be worked out. He says Almost Heaven specializes in doing “blitz builds”, wherein a group of largely unskilled volunteers construct at least the shell of a new home in just one week.
“It’s been great working with the Durbin Library building committee in preparation for this day” he says, “and I think as you look around and see the incredible progress that’s been made four or five short hours, it was well worth the effort.”
Judy Fuller says by the time they put up the roof trusses and sheeting, their budget will be back to almost zero, and fundraising will once again begin in earnest. Still, she’s hopeful that completion of the project is not too far in the future.
“If we’re completed this time next year, I’ll be thrilled” says Fuller. “And the main reason for that is just the funding. Some of it will have to be contracted out and that of course, comes at a higher price. But we do thank everybody who has been supporting us, and the radio station for getting our announcements out and all. Just ask that everybody continue to support us and to let us know how they can help us.”