Humane Society campus makes shelter feel like home
The full-time tenants aren’t talking, but architect Tim Hansmann really didn’t expect much feedback from them.
That’s just the nature of the job when some of the primary clients only speak when they’re told to. But that silence doesn’t mean anyone is disappointed with the Wisconsin Humane Society’s new Ozaukee campus in Saukville.
“It was a complex project,” said Hansmann, a project architect at The Kubala Washatko Architects Inc., Cedarburg. “It was like building a clinic for patients who want to rip it apart.”
That forced Hansmann to strike a balance between aesthetics and durability.
The result, Ozaukee Program Director Beth Maresh said, is a modern campus that blends with the surrounding landscape and enhances the Wisconsin Humane Society’s mission.
“It’s not what you expect of an animal shelter,” she said. “People love it. It’s sort of a destination for people to come to with their kids. That’s really what we wanted.”
Maresh said more than 10,000 people have visited the new campus in the past year.
The new building also has attracted more help. Volunteer Coordinator Rachelle LeJune said the number of volunteers has doubled to more than 370 people, and there have been more than 2,400 successful adoptions.
It helps that those visitors are entering a building striving for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification. The campus includes solar panels, a solar hot water system and energy conservation material on the exterior of the building.
The building’s tall windows and skylights flood the animal areas with natural light, while visitors enter into a spacious, quiet, odor-free lobby. The animal smells stay by the animals, thanks to an energy-efficient and high-tech ventilation system.
It’s a long way from the society’s previous home: a small, outdated building on a service road on the outskirts of Saukville.
The new campus gives the animals more room, a doggy day spa, a classroom for training, cage-free adoption “suites,” animal lodging and a state-of-the-art veterinary clinic.
There also is a walking trail and a courtyard behind the building.
“The environment the animals are in is much less stressful,” Maresh said. “It’s a homelike setting.”
— Stephanie Beecher