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Building a Better Way Home: the Quebec Street Shelter Renovation

Did you go to the Thanks a Million celebration on June 1? It was a special chance to bid farewell to the Quebec Street Shelter dog holding and adoption area before demolition begins. The event included an opportunity to write messages—either heartfelt or humorous—on the kennel glass and walls.

Also part of the evening was hearing Bob Rohde, League president and CEO, talk about why the renovation project is being done. The bottom line is this: Our existing shelter no longer fills the needs of the animals and the people who provide care for the animals—or most critically—our commitment to provide the best possible care to the animals that depend on us now and in the future.

I interviewed Jeannie Mabey, LEED AP and project manager at the Dumb Friends League, for this first in a series of articles about the renovation and will seek her unique perspective for future ones.

Before I get down to the details, let’s start with some interesting, pre-construction information. I’m not sure if I’m disappointed or relieved to know there will be no wrecking balls or implosions. Can you imagine how hard that would be on everyone, especially the animals? The construction contractor, Calcon, was chosen in part because of some other projects they’ve done where they’ve had to be sensitive to creating noise and vibration. For example, they’ve worked on medical facilities while delicate procedures were taking place.

A project this big can only be done in phases, with the demolition of the dog adoption area (kennels) the first and most dramatic, to start in July. Jeannie says the separation of the kennel area will be done slowly and carefully so as to not cause undue damage to the rest of the building. From there some foundation work will begin, followed by the stair/elevator tower that will go up in October. Then the exciting work starts in January, when the structural steel goes up and the new area starts to take shape.

The total project will take about three years and involve these areas in addition to dog adoptions: Veterinary Services, Cat Long-Term Care Ward, Behavior and Foster and Intake and Transfer. By the time the next issue of the VIP comes out in October, the improvements to be made and the benefits they will bring to the animals will be well underway.

It’s an exciting time to be part of the Dumb Friends League!

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