Marshfield Area Pet Shelter to Break Ground on New Facility

Groundbreaking to Take Place August 15

Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) After eight years of fundraising and growth, Marshfield Area Pet Shelter will officially break ground on a permanent facility on August 15.

The organization got its start in 2011 after a small group of volunteers banded together to house stray cats and dogs until loving homes could be found, forming a nonprofit the following year. Since then, MAPS has found happy endings for thousands of animals and expanded to include three full-time staff members, an Adoption Center inside the Marshfield Mall, and a temporary facility at the old airport terminal building on 29th Street.

Construction plans for the new facility were approved in May. In June, MAPS purchased land on Downwind Drive, not far from the temporary facility.

“This milestone is a testament to MAPS’ commitment to our original vision of building a state-of-the-art animal care facility,” said Patti Rahn, MAPS President. “None of this would have come to be without our passionate volunteers, dedicated staff, and the amazing support of our community. Together, we’ve accomplished great things and we’re looking forward to a bright future.”

The Road Home

MAPS’s slogan, “The Road Home,” highlights its efforts to give lost, abandoned, and stray animals a place to call their own.

The end of shelter’s own “road home” has been a long time coming, though MAPS has operated much as if it already had a permanent shelter since 2015, when it renovated the airport property.

Karen Rau, who stepped into the Executive Director position this year and has been involved with MAPS since its inception, said the goal was always to have a permanent place for the shelter.

“We worked really hard at the beginning just to get our name out there and generate awareness to the need in our community to establish ourselves so that people understood what we were all about,” she said.

As the shelter’s reputation grew, so did the organization itself. In 2013, MAPS began operating an adoption center at the Marshfield Mall for cats and hosted microchip clinics. Two years later, it was approached by the City to move into the airport building and picked up the contract for stray cats, and later, for dogs.

Working with the City was a turning point and allowed the organization to take its next steps.

“Not only did we enable ourselves to take over stray dog and cats contracts, but it also gave us the opportunity to start working in a physical location so that we could understand what all went into daily operations,” said Rau. “We appreciate the opportunities that we were given with that airport building.”

While the location has worked well as a temporary solution, space constraints and other restrictions related to being on airport property meant that a new space would need to be found sooner rather than later.

MAPS worked with general contractor Don Nikolai Construction to fine tune a building design based on knowledge the shelter had gathered from running its facility, attending expos, and touring other shelters.

The plans were approved by the state in May and include cat rooms, indoor/outdoor kennels, and an adoption room. Proper ventilation, floor drains, and walled kennels will allow easier cleaning to promote a healthy environment for the animals. There will also be a conference room to host meetings, educational seminars, and other activities.

“We’ll have a greater opportunity to enhance our programs,” said Rahn.

Besides pet-related events, MAPS envisions one day being able to host low-cost spay and neuter programs to provide another option for residents, and fix and release free-roaming cats as a humane way to curb overpopulation.

Subject to the construction timeline, the shelter could be settled in its new home as early as January.

“We’ve been so lucky in eight years the support that we received from this community and so many people that follow us,” said Rau. “They embraced us quickly from the moment we started this. A city this size has needed and wanted something like this, and I think we’re very successful because of the community, the support that we receive and the passion involved with animals.”

The groundbreaking ceremony will take place at 3500 Downwind Drive south of Marshfield at 4 p.m.

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