Shelter unveils plans for new $2.5 million facility

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(This story by Zack Steen originally appeared in the Daily Corinthian and appears here with permission.)

Plans were unveiled last week for Corinth-Alcorn Animal Shelter’s new facility set to break ground in 2020.

The $2.5 million structure will span 22,000-square-foot and comfortably house 300 animals for the nonprofit. The property will cover roughly five acres.

Early plans call for the state-of-the-art shelter to include a medical clinic and surgical rooms, larger kennels and dog runs, exercise yards, a feline haven, a dog park and a continuing education area for the community.

The shelter’s longtime volunteer director, Charlotte Doehner, unveiled the design and introduced designer Chuck Walker at a special gala at Hillandale Country Club on Thursday.

“Getting to this final design has taken many late nights,” said Walker. “I sat down with Charlotte to create a list of all the different needs of the facility. I could tell that her heart was really in two things – the care of the animals, making sure they had a safe and healthy environment, and a way to engage the public and meet the needs of the community.”

Walker said a special atrium area will be the heart of the new building.

“This area will serve as a indoor classroom for obedience training and a exercise area for the animals,” he said. “Off the back side of the atrium are two wings that will house large and medium size dogs.”

A third wing will house cats, kittens and puppies.

The design includes a front public entrance and a side entrance for animal drop-offs from the public and animal control officers. The front entrance includes a retail area and a receptionist area. Guests will also be able to view adoptable kittens and puppies through two separate glass enclosed play rooms.

“There will be an area in the lobby with recessed tables where kittens or puppies can play and the public can engage with the animals as soon as they come into the shelter,” said Walker. “We have areas for the administration – a office, kitchen, board room, a shower for employees and, also, a designated area for animal control intake and drop-off.”

Walker said plans are to create a weekend emergency care clinic for local animals.

“We are looking to partner with Mississippi State University to make the clinic part of their classroom and allow vet students to staff the clinic,” he said.

The shelter will also incorporate two rooms for overnight stay for students.

“The design maximizes the use, minimizes square footage and provides top quality care for animals and creates a place the community will be proud of,” added Walker.

Fundraising efforts began in October with the financial administration assistance of the CREATE Foundation. The shelter hopes to raise $1 million locally through capital pledges, public donations and events. The remaining funds will come from grants and corporate sponsorships.

“The money isn’t going to the city or the county or into anyone’s pocket – every dollar donated, which will be managed and handled by CREATE, will go back to the community and help build a new shelter,” said Doehner.

More than 300 animals are crammed into the current shelter location, which is a pre-Civil War, county owned building on Proper Street. Since occupying the location in 2011, shelter administrators have dealt with continued structural issues, including problems with flooring, roofing, heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing.

“The new design is very contemporary and is being built to ensure a successful and self-sustainable future for the Corinth-Alcorn Animal Shelter,” added Doehner.

(To donate to the capital building fund, visit corinthalcornanimalshelter.com or mail a check to 1407A Harper Road, Corinth, MS. 38834. Checks should be made out to the CREATE Foundation with Corinth-Alcorn Animal Shelter in the memo line.)