Shelters Complete First-Ever Facility Design Bootcamp

Posted: October 16th, 2019 Author: KSMP

The Koret Shelter Medicine Program always wants to share its expertise in the most efficient, effective manner, and that often means experimenting with new outreach methods. In that spirit, KSMP veterinarians Denae Wagner, Cynthia Karsten, and Kate Hurley led four shelters in various stages of planning new facilities or redesigning old ones in a first-of-its-kind online Facility Design Bootcamp. The four-week bootcamp ran in September and October.

The four shelters selected to participate in the pilot program were the City and County of Butte-Silver Bow, the Humane Society of Western Montana, the Souris Valley Animal Shelter, and the Wadena Humane Society. They were recruited by KSMP alumna, Dr. Chumkee Aziz, currently Senior Director of Shelter Outreach at the ASPCA’s Northern Tier Shelter Initiative.

“We feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity. Was great to get our team thinking together and brings a lot of great internal conversations. Likely a lot of money and time-saving insight from all of you! Thank YOU!!!”

Facility Design Bootcamp 1.0 Participant

Group Zoom calls allowed the shelters to interact with each other as well as with KSMP shelter veterinarians, while each shelter also got individual video consultations. Dr. Wagner, the facility design specialist on the team, is committed to review draft shelter plans whether they’re ready in a month, or a year from now. As Dr. Karsten likes to say, “Once a bootcamper, always a bootcamper.”

The Bootcamp curriculum included instructional videos that offered in-depth comparisons of different housing methods and floor plans; introduced the Capacity for Care (C4C) shelter management model; and explained how right-sizing the shelter and reducing length of stay works better for shelter animals ⁠— and staff.

I am a buildings manager who was asked to sit in to learn more about shelter design and operations. I found it very informative on many levels. It changed my way of thinking and gave me a higher appreciation for all that you do.

Facility Design Bootcamp 1.0 Participant

Shelter consultations aren’t educational just for the folks working in shelters; they are also a learning experience for the KSMP team. The KSMP collected feedback from participants throughout the bootcamp and sent a comprehensive questionnaire at the end.

In a final email to participants, Dr. Wagner wrote, “I am already working on Facility Design Bootcamp #2 and will be implementing many of your suggestions. Thank you too for encouraging us to continue on with this project by letting us know this was a useful endeavor.”

The ASPCA generously supplied funding to enable the shelters to participate.