Moorefield woman buys Drayton library; county ratified sale April 30

For the county it may be a simple business decision, but for Donna Hirtle the sale of the old Drayton library marked the realization of her life’s dream.

She has purchased the 1,200-square-foot building for $160,000 and plans to transform it into Studio Factor, an educational space for aspiring artists with metiers including drawing, painting, and textiles.

There may also be an op­por­tunity to work with another individual on opening a dance studio in the building, although plans are still very preliminary right now.

“It’s all in the dreaming stage,” Hirtle said in an interview last week. “But it’s fun to dream.”

Hirtle’s bid, by far the highest of three received for the building on Wood Street, was ac­cepted last week by the county’s  administration, fin­ance and personnel committee. County council voted on April 30 to ap­prove the purchase.

The old library was built in 1978, appraised at $149,900 in the summer of 2007, and declared surplus by the county last year after the opening of the new library on Wellington Street.

Proceeds from the sale will go to the county’s property reserve fund.

Hirtle said she has operated as a freelancer in “the creative realm” for about 15 years, with part of that time dedicated to home schooling, and the new building will allow her to continue in both capacities.

She foresees various open houses to showcase the work of artists who could range in age from preschoolers to seniors, as well as after school programs and some weekend workshops.

Ideally, she would like to open by July, but considering she likely won’t officially have possession of the building until June, she realizes that’s a very optimistic goal.

But regardless of the opening date, she’s ecstatic with the prospect of transforming the building into her dream space with the help of Ashberry Home Improvements.

She noted that while she has always wanted to open such a business, the space became available quite quickly and she was happy to capitalize on the opportunity.

“We loved our old library, so we were in no hurry to kick them out – the library has served us well over the years,” she said with a laugh.

“[But] the dream has been there for some time … and I’m really excited to move forward.”