GENESEO — After nearly five years of construction, the Henry County Humane Society–Geneseo Shelter will host a ribbon cutting and open house at 10 a.m. Sept. 22.
The open house will continue until 2 p.m., offering tours of the shelter and light refreshments. The new shelter is located across the road from the former shelter north of Geneseo.
Construction began on the new shelter in 2013, but a lack of funds kept the building from completion.
Animal shelter staff and volunteers took advantage of mild weather in December 2017 to move animals from the former walkout shelter to the new facility off Illinois 82 north of Geneseo, west of Cole Cabin. Equipment and supplies were moved into the new building as work continued on its interior.
Karen Russell, the group’s president, said some adjustments were required on heating, cooling, ventilation and electrical systems after moving day.
“The building is now complete,” she said. “But the dog yards in the back of the building are still a work in progress.
The new shelter is named the Bob & Barb Kuhns Pet Haven in honor of a $250,000 gift from the couple. The total cost of the new shelter was just over $950,000.
A $20,615.15 grant earlier this year from the Geneseo Foundation helped complete the shelter. The money paid the final bills of contractors, completion of the dog yards and installation of a fire alarm system, cabinets and carts.
The shelter includes five free-roaming cat rooms with large windows, extra large window sills and sinks, said shelter manager Tracy Diehl.
“The sinks are really for volunteers, but they are also a place for the cats to sit and explore,” she said. “When we moved the cats into the new rooms, they were clamoring for the windowsills. The old shelter had only one windowsill.”
The shelter also includes 15 dog runs. Space is triple what was available in the former shelter.
“It is still trial and error just to figure out where to put things,” Diehl said.
The additional space means the group needs additional volunteers, she said. Volunteer training is at 9 a.m. the second Saturday each month at the shelter.
The 4,000-square-foot steel pole building, with a 1,200-square-foot attached storage garage, is located on 4.6 acres of ground that includes a dog park and pavilion remain open to the public. The shelter’s concrete floor has radiant heat, and the storage area is stocked with pet food.
The building includes isolation and intake rooms for both dogs and cats. Communal cat rooms were designed to accommodate up to 15 cats each. Other features include a separate room for kittens, dog kennels with indoor/outdoor runs and a dog wash area.
Bob Johnson, Geneseo, was general contractor.
“The technology is efficient and cutting edge,” said Russell. “In fact, by the delay in construction, the cost for the originally planned work was cut in half by the advances in design of the mechanical equipment and plans.
“This facility is something that will add to the quality of the Geneseo community, both in the assurance that pets without homes will be protected, and that new pet owners will have a place to adopt a healthy pet which will fill their lives with joy and companionship.”
Russell said the shelter’s goal is to be pet-friendly, energy efficient, low maintenance and regulation-compliant.
“This will give our cats and dogs a safe, caring environment until they find their forever homes,” she said.
Donations to the center are tax deductible and may be mailed to Henry County Humane Society – Geneseo, 14606 Roos Hill Road, Geneseo, IL, 61254. For more details, call 309-944-4868.