Pandemic is slowing but not stopping progress at the new shelter


VAN WERT – The Humane Society is currently building a new animal shelter on Fox Road in Van Wert. This new facility will have modern HVAC and ventilation systems, sealed concrete floors, indoor and outdoor access dog houses, free-range cat rooms and separate medical isolation areas for dogs and cats.

Kirsten Barnhart, member of the board of directors of the Van Wert County Humane Society, recently spoke about some of the challenges society has faced in its goal of building a new animal shelter.

“The original cost of the shelter was $ 600,000 and we raised money during the pandemic. But because of the pandemic, the cost of building materials has increased. We should have broken the ground in the spring, but that didn’t happen because of the increased costs. “Said Barnhart.

When the board members realized that the increased costs had exceeded the financial reach of the local group, the board members went to other companies in the hope that they could still achieve their goal.

“We contacted Alexander & Bebout and they told us what they could do for us. It was much closer to the original offer we received before construction costs went up,” said Barnhart. The new cost is approximately $ 760,000.

Most importantly, she noted that the new offering will not have a negative impact on the facility. “The only thing that isn’t being done at this shelter now that should have been done before is a bit of landscaping and an outdoor cat area. But those are things that can be done later,” she said.

With all of the funds raised for the building through donations and grants from businesses and individuals, the Humane Society looked for local contractors to help build the new shelter. “We have tried to make sure that as many of our contractors as possible are on site. Alexander & Bebout is the general contractor, Overholt Electric is supplying the electrical work and Ayers is doing the mechanics.”

Barnhart emphasized that the Society felt it was necessary to give something back as so many in the local community had come together and raised funds for the new shelter. “I think it’s important to find ways to give back to the community while we’re building this shelter, and we can do that by choosing to subcontract the locals,” she said.

The Humane Society needs additional funding to complete the project and Barnhart said they were still accepting donations. “We had to go back and ask some donors to dig a little deeper, and we’re still raising funds for the project. If you do Van Worth Wag Around Downtown on Main Street, it’ll make a few hundred dollars. Billy Knoll donated a little.” . ” over $ 4,000 and people are still donating through our website or by contacting Michelle White or the Van Wert County Foundation where our funds are now held, “said Barnhart, adding that sometime in October a 50/50 – Fundraiser is planned.

Barnhart said the company will continue to raise funds even after the facility is built. “Our needs are going to include things people don’t even think about,” she said, including furniture.

The plan is to put the new system into operation by late winter or very early in 2022. Since the current facility has been sold, the company must pay the buyer to use it. Barnhart reiterated that no taxpayers’ money would be used to fund the new facility. “The shelter is not built with taxpayers’ money, it is 100% funded by donations and that’s how we run the building,” she said. She added that selling dog tags doesn’t require the Humane Society’s daily experience.

“It’s really amazing that the community came together and gave us nearly $ 700,000 at the moment. That’s just great, so we’re really, really close. Anything people can give will do better in the long run, ”she said. She realized that any pet owner could have a pet that could end up in the shelter and she knows these pet owners want to know that their furry friends are getting the best possible care.

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