COLUMBIA — Nearly two months into the Zootoo-funded renovations of the Central Missouri Humane Society shelter, the changes are beginning to take shape.
New metal supports outline the new walls that will define the new dog and cat "get-acquainted" rooms, the expanded cat colony, an office and the small animals room. The previously exposed ceiling is now concealed, and all the insulation has been removed and replaced.
“It’s an amazing transformation,” said John Shrum , president of the society's board of directors. “It’s clean and tidy; there is all new ductwork.”
Although the building is still a work in progress, two parts are almost done: the dog kennels and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The dog kennels have been repainted with mold-resistant paint, and the old chain-link fence separating pets from potential adopters has been replaced with glass doors.
The new HVAC system isolates dogs from cats to prevent them from smelling each other, and it brings in fresh air, instead of recirculating it, to help prevent airborne diseases from easily spreading in the facility.
“First and foremost is the health of the animals we take in," Shrum said. "We are looking for a healthy environment. The adopters will have an environment to find the perfect pet.”
Work on the cat colony continues. New suites capable of holding multiple cats with room for separate litter boxes will be installed, along with an additional room in which the cats can play.
“There will be a bench in front of the window, and I’m going to put a bird feeder outside to entertain the cats,” Executive Director Alan Allert said.
The society has worked with local contractors and businesses to design and start the renovations since April 2009, when it won a shelter renovation contest sponsored by Zootoo, a social networking site for pet owners. The contest included a prize of up to $1 million for renovations.
In early December, the society submitted its first set of plans, but Zootoo rejected them. The two groups compromised shortly after.
“It wasn’t so much about cutting back as refining,” said Nick Peckham of Peckham & Wright Architects, the firm that designed the shelter project.
Society board members, Zootoo founder Richard Thompson, contractors, architects and members of the community have been engaged in discussion over the past year to develop a plan that works for all. Thompson has declined to release the budget of the renovations.
“Hearing about (the renovations) makes us excited to get back over there,” society spokeswoman Leslie Gully said.
Pets available for adoption are temporarily located at 2105 Paris Road. Society members hope renovations will be completed around the end of July.