SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — After more than three years of planning, delays and fundraising, the Griffin Pond Animal Shelter kicked off construction on a $3 million expansion project with a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning, Aug. 23.
Among the speakers who presented brief remarks was Executive Director Edward Florentino Sr. Also present were members of the Griffin Pond board of directors, shelter staff, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Joseph Rominski Architecture, Fidelity Bank and Spanno Construction.
Florentino reminded the audience of the thousands of pets that were successfully adopted from the shelter and the many that were rescued over the years.
“The plan is, when we move forward with this state-of-the-art facility at this time next year, we’re going to continue to do the same thing for the next 30-something years, he said.”
He also commended the shelter’s staff and volunteers for their constant hard work and dedication.
Funding for the project, as well as for the shelter in general, is provided completely through private donations. So far, Florentino said about $500,000 was raised for the Extreme Shelter Makeover Campaign. The project is backed by the USDA with a 40-year low-interest mortgage. In addition, Fidelity Bank is handling the initial building loan.
Joseph Rominski Architecture is the designer and project foreman.
According to Florentino, the project is set to be completed by this time next year.
Some major highlights of the new building include:
• 5,000 square foot increase of space
• Climate control building
• Computerized ventilation
• Dog flushing system
• Larger pet cages
• Feline village with tri-level condos and more room for the cats to exercise
• Professional bathing and grooming area
• Pots and pans room, for sterilization purposes
• Commercial laundry room
• Community, training and multi-purpose room
Florentino said the current building has been there since 1980 and is desperate for an upgrade.
“The need is pretty obvious,” he said.
The shelter plans to remain open as much as possible during the construction, but Florentino said there will likely be short periods where it will have to be closed to the public for safety reasons. He added the animals may have to be moved at some point but the goal is to temporarily diminish the population. He said on average, 200 pets can be found there on a given day, and they will need to cut that amount in half. This means less new arrivals will be accepted during that time, especially owner-surrendered pets.
For more information about the animal shelter, which is a a registered non-profit 501(c)3 organization, call 570-586-3700. To make a donation to the campaign online, visit bit.ly/2bfM5zl.
Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal.