Since the end of 2018, the Downers Grove-based animal shelter has worked to spread the word about its need for a new facility. As of April 8, WSHS has reached more than half of its fundraising goal, locking in about $2.7 million.
“This has been a long time coming,” Executive Director Carolyn Mossberger said.
WSHS operates from a house-like structure originally built in the 1950s and later retrofitted to accommodate animals up for adoption and a team of employees. Inside the house is a main office and boarding kennels for rescued dogs. A garage was converted to accommodate cats, Mossberger said.
The new shelter, which will be built on the southern end of the property, will be 8,300 square feet, nearly three times larger than the current facility. The building will feature separate reception and adoption areas, a multipurpose room for volunteer programs and an indoor showing space for dogs.
The current facility will be demolished and transformed into a parking lot and green space.
“Currently, people have to take the dogs outside,” Mossberger said.
On cold or rainy days, adoptees and potential families have limited interaction and “not very pleasant” experiences, she said.
Renovations will include 20 kennels for dogs in which they no longer will have to face each other, which allows them to live more comfortably and reduce their stress. As for the cats, the new facility will offer them three open rooms for roam and play.
“Right now, we have a little area for our kittens, and it’s pretty small,” Mossberger said.
She said WSHS has one room that can hold up to 30 cats, and some cats who are shy or have a special diet are typically kept in cages. The new facility will give them an opportunity to be free.
Construction for the WSHS shelter will begin at the end of May with an end of 2019 completion date.
In an effort to push the mission forward, WSHS launched a GoFundMe page in March to draw attention and meet the fundraiser’s remaining $250,000 goal.
“I’m really looking forward to just bettering the facility, having a place where people feel good about coming in to volunteer or to adopt, to donate,” Mossberger said. “I think it will really just reflect the standard of care that we provide.”
For information on the WSHS capital campaign, visit www.wshs-dg.org.