Sarasota County Humane Society’s $8.5 million project will help save 900 more animals

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By Quentin Torbert
Special to Florida Construction News

The final phase of the Humane Society of Sarasota County (HSSC)’s $8.5 million expansion and improvement project is set to begin by expanding from 18,000 sq. ft. to 37,513 sq. ft. on 3 ½ acres. HSSC will expand lifesaving capacity by 50 percent, allowing 900 more animals to be saved each year compared to the old facility.

Construction is divided into two phases to minimize animal disruption.The first phase is complete, and the final phase will focus on the “receiving building,” that will house the pet pantry and end of life services. The overall timeline for both phases is 18 months with final completion set for June 2021.

“We spent more than a year working with our construction team and touring other shelters,” says HSSC executive director Anna Gonce. “Many energy-saving and sustainable features were incorporated. We estimate that overall energy use will be 10% less than a typical building of this size.”

The project was designed by Leader Design Studio in collaboration with Plunkett Raysich Architects.  The contractor is J.E. Charlotte Construction Corp.

New roof overhangs will shade the energy-efficient windows which decreases the use of electricity during the day. The lights are energy-efficient LEDs accompanied with occupancy sensors. The reflective material on the roof will reduce the load on the smart mechanical systems. Energy recovery ventilators will be installed to capture conditioned air from the return air stream and infuse it with fresh outdoor air. “We are able to maintain a fresh, healthy indoor environment which is no easy feat with 200 animals under our roof at a time,” said Gonce.

Once complete in June 2021, the new center will include a cutting edge cat wing with two-story patios. Stations for laundry, grooming, and food preparation will be built along with a new welcome center and reception area. An education and training center will be used for education programs and workshops.

The expansion project is much needed to keep up with increased demand through the years. HSSC’s original shelter in 1952 held 48 dogs and 6 cats. A 2010 renovation project help increase the capacity to care for more animals, adding a total of 82 air-conditioned dog kennels and three different rooms to house up to 80 cats.

“We were only limited by the walls of our facility, which was a cramped maze of ad-hoc expansions and outdated infrastructure,” Gonce remembers. “We began planning the most extensive renovation in our history. The end result is scheduled for final completion in June 2021 and will serve our future needs.”

The new facility will have cats and dogs wagging their tails for decades to come.

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