By Clara Tran
The George C. Marshall Research Library building, currently owned and operated by the Marshall Foundation, will become the property of the Virginia Military Institute July 1, pending Gov. Bob McDonnell’s approval.
“We’re not selling the building to VMI,” said Carol Wheeler, Director of Finance and Administration for the Marshall Foundation. “We’re giving it to them.”
Between renovations, capital improvements and other maintenance expenditures, the building has been a major expense, she said.
“We want our fundraising activities to be focused on programs, development of the library and digitization,” Wheeler said. “We don’t want to raise money to take care of the aging building.”
The Marshall Foundation spends approximately $250,000 each year on the building’s maintenance, according to Assistant Manager for Museum Operations Laura Lembas. If the transfer is approved, VMI would lease the space to the Marshall Foundation.
Col. Stewart MacInnis, director of VMI’s communications, said the rent is still being negotiated.
The building, built in 1964, would be operated through VMI’s museum system and function as the school’s visitor center. VMI would take over the museum and some of the office space, while the Marshall Foundation would keep its research library, archives and offices.
Although the foundation has special contracts with the government for education and leadership programs , it does not receive financial support from the federal and state government.
According to the Marshall Foundation’s 2011 Form 990, an IRS form that all non-profit organizations are required to report annually, the foundation incurred operational loss in 2008, 2009 and 2011. Part of the loss in 2008 and 2009 was due to a drop in investments.
Wheeler said the foundation had a good operational year in 2012.
MacInnis said the donation of the Marshall building benefits VMI as much as it does the foundation.
Gibson agrees. “Everyone feels that it’s positive. Archives and papers will be accessible to VMI and W&L cadets and the whole academic community,” he said.