Construction underway for the new Medicine River Wildlife Centre building in Red Deer. Photo supplied

Construction underway at Medicine River Wildlife Centre in Red Deer

The new building is twice the size of the old one

The new Medicine River Wildlife Centre building in Red Deer has its walls up.

Carol Kelly, executive director, said she is a step closer to opening the new wildlife hospital.

Since 1984, the animal hospital near Spruce View has been caring for injured and orphaned wildlife with over 2,200 injured birds, mammals and waterfowl from across Central Alberta.

The old hospital building was in bad shape so much that it wasn’t worth renovating, said Kelly. So a new plan was formed to demolish the old building and build a new one in the same location – a project worth $1 million.

Kelly said the centre raised about half a million with fundraising, and applied for a provincial grant, in October for the rest: $445,000.

Now the question is whether the Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant will come through.

“We are supposed to hear back in the beginning of March,” said Kelly.

“I feel like a kid waiting to open up a box.”

In the meantime construction is underway and the new building will get a roof in the next couple weeks.

If the grant money doesn’t make it, Kelly said she will have to go back to fundraising. This will also postpone the completion date of the project which is currently set to late summer.

The ground work like the power and gas line was completed last year.

The new building is twice the size of the old building with five intensive care units, a lounge and learning area, treatment centre, quarantine room and a kitchen and storage area.

Currently the centre is operating out of its old interpretive room meant for visitors and for school groups.

“We had to keep operating because we keep getting patients,” she said.

After the hospital will be completed, Kelly will look into fundraising for a new interpretative centre which will be built next door.

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Construction underway for the new Medicine River Wildlife Centre building in Red Deer. Photo supplied

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