AUGUSTA – Mac, a sweet-faced little wire-haired pup rescued by Kennebec Valley Humane Society from a high-kill shelter in Georgia, barked excitedly along with a group of about 35 people as they applauded Tuesday.
The animal shelter’s leader, Hillary Roberts, had welcomed them to the future home of the Nancy Shuman Shelter.
Officials and donors broke ground on Tuesday for the future home of the Augusta Animal Shelter on approximately 77 acres off Leighton Road, where they plan to build a new, much larger facility that will be kinder to both the animals that will be there temporarily. life, as the people who care for them and hopefully adopt them too.
The 19,000-square-foot facility would be significantly larger than the existing 12,000-square-foot building from the 1960s, as well as feature a modern design intended to reduce the stress of animals at the shelter. The new shelter will also have space that would be used to both treat adoptable homeless animals and provide spay and vaccine services to the public, a spacious common area for training and other public use, and ample outdoor space including outdoor kennels and walking trails.
The Shuman family and their Augusta-based auto dealership, Charlie’s Family of Dealerships, have pledged $2 million to build the now $7.7 million project, and Charlie Shuman handed over a $750,000 check for that pledge to Roberts, the executive director of the shelter, during a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday afternoon.
Several members of the Shuman family attended the ceremony, including Mac, who was sitting in a stroller shaded by the midday heat. Nancy Shuman reached down to comfort her dog as he barked as those in attendance applauded. A few other dogs, including adoptive dog Seaglass, were also in attendance for the short ceremony.
Jane Lincoln, chair of the shelter’s board of directors, said the groundbreaking work was long overdue and that it should help the shelter better fulfill its mission of creating a kinder community through the animal-human bond. to nurture, enrich lives by placing animals for adoption in loving homes so they can thrive on kindness and care, and support each animal’s potential through healing, hope, and second chances.
The construction of the new animal shelter was approved in March by the Augusta Planning Bureau. The 168 Leighton Road facility would replace what officials said is their aging structure on Pet Haven Lane near Western Avenue.
The current facility is on a small piece of land that the society does not own. It was built on land granted to it by the Davis family, owners of the Pine Tree Veterinary Hospital, which is adjacent to the current facility. Humane society cannot sell the property, it will go back to the family when the shelter moves.
The new facility is planned to come with “dog height” windows so that adopted puppies can see outside; kennels and other animal shelters designed to help reduce stress in adoptable animals; and plenty of space where public vaccination clinics and other community services can be provided.
Located in Augusta since 1927, the shelter shelters animals from 23 communities in the region.
Roberts said the shelter has a 97% placement rate for adopting animals under her care.
“We are able to do this, and will continue to do so, because of the humanity and compassion of this community,” Roberts said.
The $7.7 million project will be paid for through fundraising efforts. Charlie Shuman, a former board member and long-time supporter of the shelter, said they were close to the fundraiser, but not quite there. According to Roberts, about $5.3 million has been raised so far. The Shuman’s $2 million stake is the largest the shelter has ever received. The facility was initially expected to cost approximately $6 million, but the project, like many others, has seen costs rise with escalating construction costs and inflation.
The shelter bought the property after Nancy Shuman happened to drive by the property, the grounds of the former Prime family farm, three or four years ago, and called Charlie to say she thought she’d found the perfect spot for the future home of the shelter. animal shelter. Charlie Shuman said it was a day he dreamed of and will remember forever.
Across the site, which is further surrounded by businesses, are a few single-family homes. It is a mix of fields and forests.
The new roof is accessed via the existing driveway, which is being improved, and there will be 58 parking spaces around the building. Dog walking areas will be located on the north side of the building.
The unused portion of the site will be available for the shelter’s many volunteers to walk dogs.
Sheridan Construction is the contractor for the project.
Kennebec County Sheriff’s Deputies Settle New Contract With 9% Pay Increase
Next one ”