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Tree House breaks ground on $7 million, state-of-the-art, eco-friendly adoption center and veterinary clinic.

CHICAGO, IL – Tree House Humane Society officially breaks ground on Tuesday, June 2 at 10 a.m. for what will be the most innovative, cat-centric shelter facilities in the country, and solidify their position as one of the foremost animal welfare organizations in the nation. Thanks to a generous land donation, the 15,000 square-foot Adoption Center, Veterinary Clinic and Cat Cafe will be located at 7225 N. Western Avenue in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood.

Tree House is a 501(c) (3) organization founded in 1971 with a focus on the rescue and rehabilitation of sick, injured, abused, and neglected stray cats.  Tree House will be relocating its headquarters from its current facility (a three-story house that was converted into an animal shelter) at 1212 W. Carmen Avenue, which has been its home since 1975. To date, the organization has successfully raised more than $5 million of the $7 million capital campaign and will soon launch the “Every Dollar Counts” campaign to raise the funds to complete construction and outfit the new facility.

Features of the new facility will include increased natural daylight to improve cat welfare as well as human interaction, a residential feel for the cats, diverse cat suite rooms equipped with a variety of healthy stimulation options and calming safe spaces, a community-oriented outdoor space, a cutting-edge mechanical system to purify the air, state-of-the-art equipment, and natural building materials. Updated and more spacious isolation wards will provide more comfort to the cats and be more easily sanitized which will help decrease the spread of disease and the quarantine time for new admissions, allowing more cats to be adopted out more quickly and greatly increase the number of animals saved. In 2014, Tree House placed more than 1,000 cats, and the focus of this new facility is to double that number in the first year.

We are also completing design work and continuing the planning process to open Chicago’s first Cat Cafe, which will open with the Adoption Center in the Spring of 2016, and we will have a special announcement about the Cat Cafe at the groundbreaking event.

“Far more than an animal shelter, the new facility will serve as a community center with a focus on animal welfare,” says Tree House Executive Director, David de Funiak. “The goal is to bring programs, services, veterinary care, and education under one roof and provide guidance to animal lovers, ultimately creating a compassionate community and transforming animal welfare in Chicago and across the country.”

Tree House organizers sought advice from cat-style expert Kate Benjamin and cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy, best known for his Animal Planet TV Series “My Cat From Hell” and a member of the Tree House Advisory Board in the design of cat-friendly, natural living spaces. They also consulted with Dr. Sandra Newbury, DVM, Director, Shelter Medicine Program University of Wisconsin-School of Veterinary Medicine in partnership with University of California Davis, where she helped develop the Koret Shelter Medicine Program. Newbury started her distinguished career as an intern at Tree House in the nineties.   De Funiak adds “The organization will become a leader in shelter veterinary medicine and a training ground for university students interested in this specialty.”

Award-winning Chicago-based architecture firm, the Dobbins Group, specializes in environmentally-friendly design and has designed Tree House’s new building to meet all the requirements for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification — one of the highest standards of eco-friendly building (although due to the high cost, the organization will not pursue actual certification). The general contractor, Summit Design + Build, LLC, is also a leader in sustainable design and construction.

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