950 N Eau Claire St, Mondovi, Wisconsin 54755 bchapets@yahoo.com Cats: 715-318-0752 -- Dogs: 715-579-7017

Open Letter to Our Friends and Supporters (Oct, 2016)

To: Our Supporters and Friends in Buffalo County and Beyond

It’s been a little over a month since we last updated you on the progress of the Jerome and Judith Benson Animal Shelter, currently under construction in Mondovi. At that time, we reported the issue that had arisen with the planned in-floor heating system and our plan to correct it. The good news is that our plan is underway. We have received bids from the contractors affected by the necessary changes, submitted them to our insurer for approval, and have just received authorization to begin the first phase of the project.

Additionally, the support of our foster volunteers has allowed BCHA to provide care for 49 cats since our last update, including 15 new arrivals and16 adopted to their forever families. BCHA also took in 10 dogs, with 8 adopted to new families and 2 reclaimed by the owners.

So here’s the bad news. The Board has become aware of another issue with the new shelter building, this one affecting the HVAC system (heating, ventilation, and cooling). The original contractor for the in-floor heating system was also responsible for installation of the HVAC system, so the Board requested an inspection of the HVAC system. A State Inspector visited the facility and reported several deficiencies in the HVAC as currently installed. (All quotes are from the inspection report dated October 11, 2016.)

  1. The inspector found: “there is a condition existing that could cause a significant safety issue due to the system exhaust and air intake being installed in a non-code compliant manner with air intake and HVAC exhaust located directly adjacent to each other.” The issue was documented with photographs. “This condition will need to be corrected prior to use of this or any future system which may be installed.”
  2. The inspector found: “While in the attic I observed flexible ductwork exceeding the maximum 14’ in length permitted by code. These ducts will need to be replaced with ducts listed and approved for distances exceeding 14’ in length.”

In addition to the inspector’s findings, the Board conducted a review of the original HVAC system plan against standard recommendations for kennels and animal care facilities. We found several insufficiencies in the plan, including a lack of air flow separation between animal and human areas of the facility and an inadequate number of air exchanges in the animal care areas.

Based upon these findings, it has become clear to us that the HVAC already installed in the building is not adequate to meet our requirements and has not been installed in accordance with state building codes. Our only option is to start over with a redesigned HVAC system and completely new installation. Anything less would endanger the animals entrusted to our care. It would also be very likely to fail the required state building inspection, preventing us from opening.

And now for the really bad news: It will cost approximately $70,000 to redesign and reinstall the system, based upon the quote received from our new contractor. This issue is not covered by our insurance because it does not involve damage to the building, which means that BCHA will need to raise additional funds in order to complete the work on the shelter building.

BCHA currently has about $40,000 remaining in our Building Fund. Most of those funds have already been allocated to other parts of the project, so they are either not available for the HVAC system or will need to be replaced if they are used. There is about $5,000 which was intended to be the start of the maintenance fund once the building open. It has been reallocated to the opening of our new funding drive.

The Board is currently researching any funding grants that might be available to help us complete the necessary work. If you know of any grants offered by your employer or an organization that you belong to, please forward the information to us so that we can look into it and apply.

If you would like to help us move forward with this project, donations can be mailed to BCHA at PO Box 4, Mondovi WI 54755. Donations can also be made via PayPal; go to PayPal.com, click “Send” and enter our email address: bchapets@yahoo.com.

The Board is reviewing our legal options regarding the money which was paid to the original HVAC contractor for his work. Realistically, however, even if we are able to obtain a judgement ordering the repayment of some or all of that money, it will be several years before that happens and there no guarantee that we will be able to collect. Therefore, we are not including the recovery of this money in our current financial planning.

We know that you may have more questions about the situation at the shelter. Please feel free to ask them by messaging our Facebook page (Facebook.com/bchapets) or sending us an email at bchapets@yahoo.com. We will answer all questions that we are able to answer. Please follow our Facebook page for updates.

Thank you once again for your support and understanding as BCHA works through the issues that have arisen with the new shelter building. We have been working toward this goal for so long; we are determined to see it through and make the Jerome and Judith Benson Animal Shelter a reality.


Board of the Buffalo County Humane Association