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Donations offset costs of Berkeley Co. Humane Society renovations

December 08, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Three large donations to the Berkeley County Humane Society are helping the organization pay for about $260,000 in renovations to its shelter off Charles Town Road, according to board member JoAnn Overington.

"Everybody's excited," Overington said of a 1,300-square-foot expansion and renovation of shelter facilities.

The addition includes new space for a cat play room, a multi-purpose/meeting room, veterinarian work space, and larger office and break areas for staff, Humane Society manager Brandi Bowers said Tuesday while giving a tour of the shelter.

The project, expected to be completed by spring, also includes additional dog kennels, a new roofing system for the shelter, additional parking, drainage improvements, and faux stone and vinyl siding for the shelter's exterior.

"I think it's going to benefit (the community) big time," Bowers said.

Steve Demick, owner of Modern Renovators & Builders, said the project is a comprehensive overhaul, but is being done in a way that has allowed the shelter to remain open to the public.

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"We basically built a new building around the old building," Demick said.

The donations and bequests by the late Ira Glackens ($50,000), the Evelyn Kilmer trust fund ($30,000) and the late Alfred McKittrick ($160,000) were not entirely expected, according to Overington.

McKittrick adopted a dog from the shelter, but Overington said his donation was a complete surprise..

"This just happened out of the blue," Overington said.

For his gift, the Humane Society is planning to name an area of the dog kennel in McKittrick's honor. Overington said the cat play room will bear Kilmer's name.

Before McKittrick's gift, Overington said the nonprofit organization "scrimped and saved whatever extra money we had for 10 to 12 years" for the expansion.

With the additional money, the shelter can expand from 15 to 27 kennels and create a puppy and small dog area, which will bear McKittrick's name, according to Overington and Bowers.

While the expansion is providing space for a veterinarian, Overington said a remaining future dream for the Humane Society is to "outfit" the work area for services such as a spay and neutering program or rabies clinic.

In addition to the private support, Overington said state lawmakers were able to help the organization net another $19,000 to install a central heating system for the shelter.

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