After decades of careful research and planning, after endless volunteer hours of fundraising and preparation, an ambitious dream is finally shaping into a reality. Dedicated EMCSPCA members are elated. That’s because progress can actually be seen daily at the site of the future no-kill animal shelter, located on Highway 49 across from Wasuma Elementary School in Ahwahnee.
Mountain Area contractor Randy Papike, who heads the project, said they are working hard to get through most of the site work to beat the rainy season. The retaining walls are in, the building footings are done and close to being ready for pouring of concrete. And once the concrete work is completed, the stick framing and block wall can begin.
“In about four months, the shell of the building should be finished and dried ... I think this project will be completed by the end of next summer,” Papike explained.
“I come out here once or twice a week to see what’s going on,” added EMCSPCA Treasurer Lyle Swanson. “When I came out last week and saw the footing trenches and re-bar, it got my heart a-pumping. It’s fun and exciting to see things progress, especially at the beginning when you can see so many changes day-to-day.”
The EMCSPCA is thrilled to have Papike, and he is equally happy to have been selected for such a special and important project.
“People think this is going to be a big metal building,” Papike said, “but it’s going to be beautiful. It’s going to be state of the art ... It won’t be like walking into a jail. It will lift people’s spirits ... I’d even stay here.”
Approximately 13 acres is being leased from Madera County on a long-term low-cost lease. The 8,000 square foot facility will have the capacity to house a maximum of 40 dogs and 60 cats. There will be a low-cost spay/neuter clinic on-site, and the focus will be on adoption by providing any necessary veterinary care, grooming and training needed to improve adopt-ability.
A nonprofit, 501 (C) (3) organization, the EMCSPCA receives no government funding, relying solely upon donations. The group has been working diligently for more than 27 years to realize the dream of this area shelter.
“Since bids came in higher than consultants expected due primarily to rising costs of materials, we are working hard to find ways to save money without making changes to the design or function of the building,” President Sharon Fitzgerald said. “One thing we will not sacrifice is the health and safety of the animals. While construction progresses, we will continue to raise funds to equip the shelter with everything needed to operate. We are definitely making every dollar donated count.”
To donate, see www.emcspca.org/donate.htm.