Naperville shelter plans major expansion for animals, efficiency

  • The Naperville Area Humane Society plans a $1.8 million addition to more than double the size of its shelter and adoption center. Pending city council approval, the society hopes to break ground on the project in March.

    The Naperville Area Humane Society plans a $1.8 million addition to more than double the size of its shelter and adoption center. Pending city council approval, the society hopes to break ground on the project in March. Courtesy of Naperville Area Humane Society

 
 
Updated 10/23/2019 1:06 PM

The Naperville Area Humane Society plans to more than double its space after nearly 40 years in its northwest Naperville location.

The society plans to break ground in March on a 4,000-square-foot, $1.8 million addition to the south side of its shelter at 1620 W. Diehl Road, pending city council approval.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The 3,000-square-foot building has 18 kennels for dogs and space for 40 cats, but it lacks enough room for summer camps and education programs or for separate places for adopters to meet their pets-to-be, said Kristen Funk, executive director.

The addition, designed by Linden Group Architects of Orland Park, will bring intake rooms for animals, isolation rooms, a medical suite and meet-and-greet spaces for adoptions. It will include eight more kennels for dogs and space for 40 or 50 more cats.

"We're very, very excited to take in more animals but also to help run more functionally," Funk said. "It'll be a really nice expansion for all of us."

The humane society plans to launch a fundraising campaign soon to help pay for the addition, which could be complete by late next year, Funk said.

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Aside from housing more animals, the work also will allow the society to stop hosting classes in the lobby or laundry room and to expand the training it provides to animals and the public that loves them. Funk said a larger space also could prevent the society from having to turn away volunteers who want to serve during the most popular time slot of Saturday afternoons.

"It will allow us to utilize the volunteers who want to be here," Funk said.

Despite more than doubling the size of the shelter, the project does not add to the "perceived bulk" of the building as visible from Diehl Road, said Sara Kopinski with the city's planning team. And it wouldn't negatively affect its neighbor, a city water facility, she said.

The project needs city council approval because it takes up space that normally would be required to remain open as setbacks from other properties and roads. The planning and zoning commission unanimously approved the necessary building and parking setback variations during a meeting last week.

Bruce Hanson, chairman of the planning and zoning commission, said he sees no issues with the addition.

"It's a beautiful design," Hanson said. "There will be some lucky dogs and cats."

Funk said she hopes to have full city council approval by December so the society can work with Linden Group and with construction manager RWE Management Company of Burr Ridge to begin the work. Both firms have been involved with other animal shelter or veterinary care projects in the region, Funk said.

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