Changes coming to wildlife centre

By the time work on the new Medicine River Wildlife Centre hospital is complete, the only thing left of the original will be the two end walls.

By the time work on the new Medicine River Wildlife Centre hospital is complete, the only thing left of the original will be the two end walls.

The complete reconstruction of the hospital will allow the Spruce View-based facility to help more animals, and give staff a better working and learning environment.

“When we started we thought what we would do is take the inside out and rebuild and reuse it,” said Carol Kelly, MRWC executive director.

“As we go through it’s been ‘we have to tear that out and tear this out.’ ”

The renovations will make everything better for the staff, more efficient for the service they provide and teach a wide range of students, including from Olds and Red Deer College.

The centre treats about 1,300 animals annually.

“It didn’t meet code anymore, there was a lot of damage to it and it was worn out,” said Kelly.

“When we built it we had no idea what the use was going to be. It was built for much less usage.” But the centre is now in need of much more space to handle the workload.

Each cage has to be hand scrubbed by a worker now, but upgrades will meant that every room will be equipped with pressure washers, saving “time and shoulders.”

It is also an eco-friendly building with a composting toilet, an air exchange system and solar hot water heating.

And a cold room will replace the freezer appliances that Kelly called inefficient.

There will also be an oil-washing area to clean birds and other animals, a quarantine room and a proper loading and unloading dock.

“There are so many advantages to this next building, it is phenomenal,” said Kelly, adding it will be mouse proof.

“Most importantly, everything will be up to code.”

The hope is to have the building done by late summer.

But they need help and are embarking on an extended crowd-funding event.

Hoping to raise $400,000, the 45-day project asks everyone to give a little to finish the building so employees can get ready for the busy season helping injured or orphaned wildlife.

From May 1 to June 15, people can help support the centre by visiting the project on Giveffect, at

“The goal is $400,000 and the project will run for only 45 days.

‘Many people giving a little’ can make it as simple as 16,000 individuals giving only $25 each,” said Kelly.

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