Growing, Growing, Growing: 30 Years and Still Growing Strong
During the 30 years of Southeastern Guide Dogs, lots of growing has occurred and now we are in another phase of growth. Here’s what’s going on.
If you have been on campus in Palmetto lately, you have probably seen a lot of construction areas and wondered what was happening. Well, several months ago, planning began for the Margaret & Isaac Barpal Veterinary Center. Now we are in the early stages of putting those plans into action.
The new state-of-the-art Barpal Vet Center will be located on the west end of campus adjacent to the Puppy Kennel. Part of the site was already occupied by our Gift Shop. So we brought in R. E. Johnson & Sons Structural Movers to relocate the Gift Shop. It was quite the undertaking and very interesting to watch.
The movers first jacked up the building, backed a flat bed truck under it, lowered it onto the truck, and headed down the drive (part of which included a 90 degree turn without much space), backed it into the new location, raised it up off the truck bed, pulled the truck out, and finally lowered it onto the new site across from the Training Kennel. Whew, we were tired just watching it happen!
Now that the Gift Shop is in its new home, the site is open for the vet center. A groundbreaking will take place in the next couple of weeks. That's when the real work will begin as the team builds this fantastic new place to provide the utmost care and comfort for our dogs.
We also have been hosting number of events here on campus. As you Floridians know (and visitors and newbies to the area are learning), our weather can be rather unpredictable. Therefore, we have started construction on a new pavilion for our Freedom Courtyard to provide a shaded area to conduct meetings, hold events and most exciting – offer dog obedience training for the general public from our guide dog trainers.
Just like the site for the Barpal Vet Center, the Freedom Courtyard already had a structure in place that had to be moved, in this case, a gazebo. After construction by Jonas Yoder Construction began on the pavilion, but before the roof work started, a giant crane came in, picked up the gazebo and set it on the back of a truck. Then the crane was used to set the trusses for the pavilion, and then on its way off campus, it stopped off near the entrance to place the gazebo in its new location.
All of this activity is so that we can continue to provide the best possible care for our world class guide dogs. There will be more growth in the near future, so if you visit campus in the next few months, please pardon our dust.