Construction in the time of COVID-19

Since March 24, when Denver’s Stay at Home order went into effect, businesses closed or modified their workflow, and schools turned to online learning. But, let’s face it, there’s no such thing as contactless or virtual construction. While the Dumb Friends League’s Building a Better Way Home project never stopped, that doesn’t mean it was business as usual.

As a refresher, the Building a Better Way Home project broke ground in 2017 and is a major renovation and construction project to upgrade the oldest and most heavily used parts of the Dumb Friends League Leslie A. Malone Center.

COVID-19 did not halt construction because that work was considered essential. It did, however, cause crews to adjust their work habits. Safety guidelines, temperature checks, a single point of entry, mandatory masks, hand washing stations and social distancing when possible were all things workers had to adapt to as part of their days.

At the beginning of the crisis, League leadership recognized the potential for an influx of animals based on the likelihood that other shelters might have to limit their services and more people would relinquish their animals if they were no longer able to care for them. At the time, construction in many of the existing kennel areas was well underway, but these spaces needed finishing touches, such as paint, ceiling tiles and gates. Since more pets could arrive at our shelter and need accommodations, the request was made for the construction team to prioritize completing these areas to allow for increased capacity. Once all of the animal holding areas were ready for use, construction workers shifted their focus back to the Phase 4 area.

Currently, work is progressing in the new Veterinary Services and Return for Treatment areas on the main level, as well as construction on the lower level break room, bathrooms, lockers and shower facilities. Workers have finished most of the overhead rough-in for mechanical, electrical and plumbing, installed a new stairwell, framed the new interior walls and completed the medical gas lines for Veterinary Services. Drywall and paint is underway, with fixtures, casework and finishes yet to come. And, for our pups, work on the new dog runs is progressing quickly, and they are expected to be ready for play mid-July.

Crews are also preparing for the new Lulu’s Pavilion area. This space will include three areas that can be combined into one large conference and community classroom to accommodate up to 300 people. A wall of glass garage doors will open to a large patio, and there will also be a new entrance and a full catering kitchen. Workers are busy clearing out the existing West Ed, current Lulu’s conference room and the Humane Education team’s offices to prepare to begin work in July after the permit is issued. This part of the project is expected to finish in March.

Construction is still on track, and there have been no significant delays to the project timeline despite the major hurdle of COVID-19 and a slower than usual supply chain. (No different than what we all experienced in our realities, orders were taken and processed, but fulfillment wasn’t always as timely as it had been.)

We’re excited to share updates as work continues to progress!

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