Old Boys and Friends of Wentworth:

I am posting this to inform you that we have an option to purchase the museum building for $135,000 (we are currently leasing for $850 a month). We have now conducted all of the necessary building inspections and are putting together the vision for the layout. With the vast majority of items we need to make the museum a meaningful tribute to WMA already acquired, we are prepared to start moving forward with grander plans. The floors need to be redone; the walls need to be painted; a compliant bathroom needs to be completed; etc. These are all things we expected, and we are fortunate to have been in receipt of many financial, in-kind and donated services to help us begin to make our dream a reality. For these things and many more, we will continue to need to raise funds, but this is not the reason I am posting.

However, before we can secure a mortgage, I believe the most prudent thing we can do is to have the expenses associated with the building covered by a sustaining fund, AKA, The 1880 Society. That would allow for us to be able to pay the utilities, taxes, insurance and mortgage on the building, while being able to separately fundraise for specific projects/displays, etc. In an effort to achieve full transparency, we would like to purchase the building with a mortgage payment of $1,000 or less a month. With a 15 year mortgage, at 5% interest rate and 10-20% down (all assumptions), coming in under $1,000 a month for the mortgage should not be a problem. We also know the building expenses for 2016 were as follows: Insurance – $2,566; Property Taxes – $2,048; Gas – $2,789; Water – $ 620; and Electric – $4,041; for a total of $12,064. That basically means we need a sustaining fund of $24,000 a year to cover the costs of occupying the building. $24,000/$18.80/12 months means we need 107 (or hopefully more) infinite 1880 Society members before we can purchase the building. Can you help us get there?
So, yes, I am asking you to join The 1880 Society (criticize away if you wish). Here is the link to signup: https://www.wmamuseum.org/donations/the-1880-society/. $18.80 a month is what we are requesting. You can do more if you like. I would also humbly request you encourage your friends and former classmates to join as well.

As an FYI, our goal is to have the Museum’s Hall of Honor ready for the alumni banquet in October. On the other side of the building and on the other floors, progress is being made in the form of sorting, organizing, cataloging and cleaning. We expect the Doughboy, Groendyke Hall Hall of Honor, display cases and the Chapel bell to be secured in the museum in the coming weeks. With more than a million WMA artifacts currently in our possession, it is too soon to be able to predict when the museum will open, but we will have it open for tours during homecoming weekend at a bare minimum so alumni and friends can see our progress.

Many thanks for your consideration and for being part of the vision for the museum.

Best personal regards-

George J. Hittner
WMA Museum Chair