Literacy Council moves one block away to new office

August 28, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Three weeks ago, after a lengthy search for new offices, the Literacy Council of Carroll County had only one option: a long-vacant building beset with problems.

"We needed space in the worst way," said Marian Carr, council director.

News of the council's plight reached a Westminster landlord, and the problem was solved. Yesterday, volunteers helped move the group to a spacious new office on the second floor of a brick building just a block away from its old digs.

No remodeling was needed at 95 Carroll St., and the council will be open for business tomorrow.

"It's a blessing to find [it] in such a short order," Ms. Carr said. "We have a suite of offices, a well-lit parking lot and room to work efficiently with our students. We have not been afforded such luxury before."

The nonprofit, all-volunteer organization, which helps adults learn read and write, now has 800 square feet for a library and private tutoring rooms. The landlord will also allow the council to use adjacent space in the building as long as it remains vacant.

"We could use that area for training and conferences," Ms. Carr said.

The council has negotiated "a nice lease" with Development Company of America, but Ms. Carr declined to discuss the terms.

The council had leased rooms on the second floor of a clapboard house at 30 Carroll St. from Grace Lutheran Church for 4 1/2 years, but had to move because of a change in tenants at the building.

The council had spent about $800 to renovate the space, some of which it shared with other tenants.

"We felt we would be staying there for a while," Ms. Carr said.

When Carroll Hospice vacated the first floor of the house more than a year ago, Grace Lutheran opened a clothing center there for needy families.

"People would be in and out all day, often with young children," Ms. Carr said. "The noise can be distracting when you are trying to tutor. You would lose someone with learning disability immediately."

The church offered the council another building across the street, but was unable to commit to much-needed electrical and structural repairs.

While the idea of extra space was appealing, the renovation costs were prohibitive. Ms. Carr said she had contractor bids for about $5,000 to make minimal improvements.

"The council doesn't have that kind of money," Ms. Carr said.

Word of the council predicament led to the offer from the owner of the office building, whose tenants include Carroll Hospice.

Several local businesses donated carpeting and furniture.

& Information: 848-6506.

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