Washington County Humane Society nearing campaign goal for $7 million facility renovation

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The Washington County Humane Society is nearing its $7 million fundraising goal as construction continues on the organization’s multi-phase renovation of its Slinger facility.

The organization is currently in phase 2 and 3 of the project, which involves razing its 35-year-old training facility and building a more modern space that will include a classroom for educational programming and community services. Work is also underway on a remodel of the shelter’s stray and surrender center, welcome area and courtyard. Phases 2 and 3 are expected to be completed in November.

In mid-2018, the back of the shelter underwent a $750,000 remodel that modernized the surgical suite and created a dog isolation ward and dedicated cat-intake rooms to reduce stress and the spread of illness.

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The project’s final phase will include remodeling the existing adoption wards to separate dogs, cats and small animals. Features of the newly designed space will include more soundproofing, natural light, cat enrichment rooms, common playrooms, and expanded space dedicated for adoptions.

WCHS said it needs $500,000 to cover the remaining costs associated with project construction. So far, the project has been funded through a combination of reserves, estate gifts and gifts from individuals and foundations.

If funds are raised this year, construction on the final phase will be completed in May 2021, WCHS said.

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When completed, the new facility will be 34,650 square feet. The Kubala Washatko Architects is the project architect and Altius Building Company is the general contractor.

Executive director Marnie Brown said the building has been in need of major upgrades for several years as the demand for its services has grown.

“The community is growing here and we’ve been able to grow with the community,” Brown said. “We have increased our community outreach programs. We just felt it was time to take the plunge and build a facility that we could be proud of. The board and I have been working toward that goal since 2014.”

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When the project is completed, WCHS expects to add workshops for the community, increase its annual adoption count from 1,000 to 1,2000, grow revenue from animal-related services and retail sales by 10% and grow programming attendance by 20%.

Kay Amland, director of development for WCHS, said the community has been responsive to its fundraising appeals, despite the disruption of the COVID-19 health crisis.
“Our revenue streams have dropped significantly,” she said. “Not unlike many nonprofits, our fundraising events have been canceled. That’s about a third of our revenue that’s raised through fundraising events. … (But) we have found that the community has been even more generous and more people are donating. The amounts might not be huge, but people are coming forward and trying to help where they can.”

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