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Animal Shelter Enjoys Tail-Wagging Savings

Animal Shelter decreases costs while increasing project size

Employees, visitors, and four-legged residents were not exactly working or living in comfort at the Saratoga County Animal Shelter in Ballston Spa, NY.

The 5,000-sq-ft facility had been expanded many times; some sections were in poor condition, and the entire structure had inadequate insulation. When an all-new $5.1 million facility was announced, the proposals started to roll in—that is, $15 million and $10 million proposals for concrete, steel, and brick buildings. It took a savvy architect familiar with post-frame construction’s cost-saving benefits to get the project off the ground.

“The architect asked the customer if they had considered using post-frame construction, and the answer was no,” says Edward Updyke, sales consultant at Morton Buildings, Cobleskill, NY. He told them the only way to build this project at budget would be to use post-frame construction. Together, Morton Buildings and Richard A. Campagnola with C.T. Male Associates, the architectural firm, helped the owner and set the stage for a number of “firsts” in post-frame construction.

The Saratoga County Animal Shelter’s new home is a 24,000-sq-ft structure consisting of five buildings interconnected under one roof. The front building, which is the largest at 66’ x 150’, houses the administrative, greeting, and cat-viewing areas. The second largest area at 78’ x 96’, houses the canine kennel and features a flat roof with pitched insulation covered with a built-up finished roofing system. The building’s features have resulted in an NFBA Best Engineering Builder of the Year Award.

“We had never built a product of this configuration before—Morton Buildings had to step outside of its comfort zone. We were restricted by truss height requirements,” says Chuck Pittman, senior project manager at Morton Buildings, Morton, IL. “The architect addressed the roofing with a tapered insulation product that would form the pitches of the roof, with water going to primary and secondary drains and then to overflows.”

Six large air-handling units were installed on the flat-roof area to address the ventilation requirements endemic to this type of facility. “We had to design a roof that could accept an additional imposed load of about 5,000 pounds per unit,” Pittman says. “It was a challenge to engineer for the additional load, and we had never worked with pitched insulation before.”

Many different loading conditions exist within the new animal shelter. Some roofing sections are supported by a column wall, and others are supported by a beam and column. The pitched-roof sections have a step fascia (also known as multiple fascia). Integrating the step-fascia arrangement into a flat-roof building was “pretty interesting,” as described by Pittman. An O’Keeffe’s safety ladder is installed on one side of the building to allow access to the flat roof—another first for Morton Buildings. Morton Buildings used its Energy Performer insulation product; ceiling insulation entailed a combination of blanket (installed first) and blown insulation in areas with acoustical steel ceiling. R49 insulation was blown into attics to help reduce heating costs.

The architect designed a bold Novabrik surround on the building’s columns. “The portion of the column that Novabrik covers is 24 in. square,” says Pittman. “We had to engineer for the support of that product and design and fabricate the caps. An extremely good fabrication and shipping plant in Gettysburg coordinated manufacturing of all these special items and delivered them to the job site. Another facility near our corporate office fabricated metal parts that previously didn’t exist.”

Construction on the Saratoga County Animal Shelter got off to a late, off-season start, with work beginning in November and ending in April. Thankfully, the weather cooperated on all but three days. The shelter held its dedication ceremony in October 2010 and the owners were, as Pittman describes, “bouncing-off-the-walls happy.”

“As large and complicated as this project was, it went amazingly well,” Updyke says. “All three of our crews were on site, and a lot of bonding occurred within our office. Because we came in somewhat under budget, they were able to build an 18- x 24-ft canine “get acquainted pavilion” next to the building. When the weather is nice, folks can take their prospective adoptive dogs to this area to get to know them.”