Monday, December 6, 2010

Estate gift allows shelter construction to begin

Photos by Jim Keyworth
Thanks to a generous bequest, the old animal shelter (above) on McLane Road will only have to serve one more winter before it is razed to make way for a brand new shelter.  The real winners are animals like this one who will be housed indoors once they get through one last cold season.

PAYSON (December 2010)– With the cash on hand in the building fund, the Humane Society of Central Arizona (HSCAZ) is preparing to commence construction for Phase II of its new shelter facilities in the spring of 2011 with a summer completion date.

A recent major gift from the estate of long time Payson resident Dorothy Clark, combined with the generosity of the many others who over the years have supported HSCAZ's efforts to help animals, provided the dollars necessary to move forward. The timely gift from the Clark estate almost doubled the cash available, allowing for Phase II to include approximately 8,300 square feet of finished space of which 6,600 square feet will be animal care and handling areas. The additional space will be dedicated to administrative functions including animal adoptions.

Dorothy and her husband Jim retired to Payson in the early 80s and focused their efforts on making a difference for animals. They became involved with the Payson Humane Society (now Humane Society of Central Arizona), giving generously of both their time and resources. Jim and Dorothy planned together to gift their estate to benefit animals. Jim died in 2005 and Dorothy passed on in August, leaving the entire estate to HSCAZ.

"There are angels among us and Mrs. Clark is surely one of those special beings," said HSCAZ Board Chairman Bill Enlund.

In 2005, the board of directors committed to raising $4M to construct a 17,000 square foot facility which had been planned and designed by experts in the field to be the ultimate in animal shelters. In January, 2008, funds were available to proceed with Phase I and ground was broken to build a pad, wall and infrastructure.

Hopes were high but reality hit the project with the economic downturn and a dramatic drop off in funding sources and donations. At the same time facilities for the animals continued to deteriorate as the numbers of homeless animals also increased.

In summer 2010 an ad hoc committee chaired by Robert Schulman was formed to review plans and suggest alternatives which would provide for the needs of the animals and could be constructed for the then available cash. They proposed phased construction utilizing the site work done in Phase I but revising plans for Phase II.

The revised plan maintains the integrity of the original footprint and building style. According to Steven Semmens, chairman of the board of directors building committee, "We have been very involved with and committed to working with the Town of Payson through this process. The planning and zoning team has been supportive and helpful in guiding us through the system to get the approvals necessary to move forward with the reconfigured project."

Architectural and engineering services for Phase II recently went out to bid, from which responses were accepted from three valley firms and one local company. Rex Hinshaw and Hinshaw Associates were awarded the contract for those services.

Qualified contractors will be asked to bid the project when architectural and other design work has been completed. Construction is expected to begin in the spring with facilities completed by the end of summer. Buildout of the remaining planned facilities will commence as additional funds become available.

Guiding the organization to ensure that the project is completed in a timely manner and within budget is an expanded eight member board of directors which includes new members Diane Reid, Robert Schulman and Steven Semmens along with Joanne Conlin, Bill Enlund, Ginger Ingram, Derek Shreiner and John Wakelin. Shelter operations are managed by Sarah Hock, recently hired to fill the position of Executive Director.

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