IKM has worked with Animal Friends on multiple occasions, most recently with the Howard Ash Wellness Center project. The mission of the Center is to end the overpopulation of pets in the area by creating a new spay and neuter clinic.
The grand lobby of the new building splits the main level into two zones: clinic and administration. It also connects to a classroom and a large outdoor patio that faces the many acres of woods on the property. The Center is surrounded by grass and patio, allowing the current dog-walking paths to connect safely to this new area of the campus.
Animal Friends operations remained uninterrupted throughout the construction process, including their annual Gala held in an outside tent for donors and the community to see the progress of the new facility. The main building on the campus (completed by IKM in 2002) also remained open throughout the duration of the construction period. There is a single shared entrance to the property which required coordination between the construction team and the Animal Friends staff to allow continued access to the main building. Animal Friends was still able to host several events and classes in the main building.
A particular challenge for the design team was the two different townships on which the Animal Friends property is split. The campus entrance and main building reside in one, while the new Wellness Center resides in another. IKM worked to understand the needs of both municipalities as well as the owner.
The final product is a new facility that enables Animal Friends to provide more low-cost spay and neuter surgeries. The Center also includes designated space for low-cost vaccinations and storage space for pet food for those who are having trouble feeding their pets. The new building is a unified on-campus location for the programs that previously would have occurred off-site, and a “beacon of hope for pet owners who have the desire to keep their pets healthy, even if they don’t have the financial means to do so,” according to Animal Friends president David Swisher.