BY EILEEN PERSIKE
Snow delayed the ground breaking, but now that spring has sprung, construction has begun on the Oneida County Humane Society project that will give the facility twice the square footage, provide better flow and more efficient use of the space.
“We’ll have a meet and greet room for potential adopters…we don’t have a winter-friendly area,” facility director Bria Swartout said. “We’ll have a larger lobby, and a few more wellness rooms for the animals that aren’t feeling good.”
Currently the dog quarantine and dog intake areas are mixed in among the general population and the cats share a room with the washer and drier. Dividing the space and adding sound barriers will be safer and healthier for all the animals, Swartout explained.
“Dogs will be all on one side and in front,” she said. “It will be nice for the cats to not have the stress of the barking of the dogs and there will be a separate entrance for the dog area.”
The building was originally constructed on its N. Stevens Street location in 1983-84, and a small addition constructed in 2000-01. The building has been pieced together over time. Along with two new bathroom facilities, the icing on the cake will be the addition of one energy-efficient heating and air conditioning unit, instead of the three that are being utilized today.
The cost estimate for the project, which includes the new addition expected to be completed this summer, and the remodel of the existing space to be finished in the fall, came in just under $600,000. Swartout said they have about $425,000 in the bank and have access to a private loan, plus fundraising will continue.
“Donors like to see progress and we had enough to get started so I think that will continue our efforts for fundraising, once people see work is being started,” Swartout noted.
The Humane Society announced expansion plans in December 2016 when the organization received a couple of unexpected cash awards.