FAQ About the Building
Here are the answers to some of the questions that we are most frequently asked about the status of our new shelter building. We appreciate the community’s interest in the building and thank you for your continued support.
What is going on with the building?
The building is very close to being completed. Unfortunately, issues with the geo-thermal system and HVAC (heating and air conditioning) are preventing us from opening.
What is the issue with the geo-thermal system?
The building design includes in-floor geo-thermal heating for the comfort and safety of the animals in our care. When the system was installed, fluid was introduced into the system without anti-freeze and without the HVAC completed. This fluid froze during the winter (early 2016), resulting in damage to the system and multiple leaks.
BCHA filed a claim on our insurance policy for the damage, and our insurance company has paid out over $110,000 to repair and replace the damaged system. The work on the system is nearly complete. The remaining work involves the tie-in to the HVAC system and cannot be completed until the HVAC work is complete.
What is the issue with the HVAC system?
HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Following the issue with geo-thermal system, the board requested an inspection and review of the HVAC (which was installed by the same contractor). This review resulted in two major findings.
- Some of the existing installation does not comply with state rules and regulations. For example, the air intake and air exhaust for the furnace are right next to each other. As installed, the system will not pass the required state inspection to open.
- The design of the system does not meet the usual recommendations for an animal care facility. For example, the building should be divided into zones so that air from the dog kennels is separate from the cat rooms and separate from the human areas and separate from the isolation rooms.
What needs to happen with the HVAC system?
Based upon the review, BCHA has hired a new contractor to redesign the system and install a new system per that design. The new design requires purchasing additional equipment to create the necessary zones. The estimated cost for the redesigned system (including installation) is approximately $60,000 to $70,000.
In order to pay for the redesigned system, BCHA is launching a new fundraising campaign to raise the money needed.
Isn’t there still money in the Building Fund? Can’t you use that?
BHCA does have about $46,000 remaining from our original fundraising campaign. However, all of those funds have been allocated to other needs in the building, such as:
- Completion of the plumbing work (sinks & faucets in multiple areas, bathroom etc).
- Installation of gates on dog kennels
- Painting dog areas (which requires a special epoxy paint for safety reasons)
- Kennels and furniture in the cat rooms
- Furniture in the lobby and bonding room
Why don’t you sue the original contractor to get your money back?
The board did consider filing legal action and consulted with an attorney to discuss the options. We certainly understand (and share) the feeling that the contractor should be held accountable. However, after much discussion, the board ultimately decided not to file any action. These are the main reasons why.
- We would have to hire an expert witness to examine the system and testify in court. This would cost approximately $10,000 to $15,000.
- The building would have to remain “as is” until the case was decided, as the building would be part of our evidence. (His attorneys would require an inspection by their own expert witness.) This means that we would be unable to complete work on the building for at least 2-3 years while the case was active. That means that we could not open and start using the building until after the case was decided.
- Even if we won a judgment against the contractor, that would be at least 2-3 years down the road (and probably longer), and there is no guarantee that we would actually be able to collect the money.
Why does BCHA have so many fundraisers?
BCHA is a private animal rescue, not a government department. We receive no funding from the county budget. That means that we rely upon donations from the public to support our work.
The adoption fees that BCHA receives for our animals do not cover even the standard medical costs for that animal (vaccinations and spay/neuter), and if additional medical care is required, that adds to the deficit.
BCHA also cares for animals that need to be euthanized for health reasons and receives no adoption fees to offset those expenses.
In addition to fundraising for the shelter building, we also hold fundraisers for animal care.
How can I help?
BCHA needs volunteers in all sorts of areas.
- Foster homes for the animals in our care (particularly now that kitten season is here).
- Chairperson for the HVAC fundraising campaign to help plan and coordinate events.
- Volunteers at events, such as our weekly adoption events at Petco and the Buffalo County Fair. We are always in need of help to set up, tear down, and work the booth.
- Office assistance to help maintain our tracking spreadsheets and other documents.
- Webmaster to help with maintaining and updating our website.
- Adobe Forms expertise to help us update our adoption application and other forms so that they can be added to website (and possibly completed online).
- Marketing assistance to help with publicizing animals available for adoption.
People tend to think only about the animal care related needs, which is important, but BCHA also needs any skill that might be used to run a small business.