The SPCA in Martinsville-Henry County is getting a fresh new look — mostly through donated labor and materials — as it handles the renovations required by a state inspector.
Martinsville interior designer Lou Harris said she chose bright, cheerful colors to make a positive impact on visitors.
“I did a little research online of other veterinary offices and animal shelters, and bright colors were things that affected people when they went in and were either taking care of animals that needed help, or for people that were going in to make an adoption — that it wasn’t depressing, that it was a happy, joyful thing that was going to make a change in an animal’s life,” Harris said.
The previous colors “were a little bit more intense,” Harris said, “bright and happy but not as cheerful as I guess these are.” Plus, they did not extend all the way to the courtyard, as these do, she said.
“It just brought a smile to your face to see the beautiful rainbow of colors,” said Tiffany Smart, the president of the SPCA’s board of directors.
State inspectors had required that the shelter be repainted, to seal concrete that had begun to show through the original paint job.
Leslie Hervey was the SPCA’s executive director from 2004 to 2013, when she went to the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA as its executive director. She was back in Martinsville and on the SPCA board when then-SPCA executive director Nicole Harris took a similar job in West Virginia.
“So I stepped off the board to run our SPCA until we could search for a new ED [executive director],” Hervey said.
Paint contractor Dale Harrison is doing the paint job for $15,000. Hervey said she was astonished at such a low bid – the next bids came in at $45,000 and $55,000. He’s basically doing it for the his cost of the paint, she said.
“They do good for the community. It’s a whole gift to the animals,” said Harrison, who lives in Rocky Mount.
He said that he is not usually working there himself but rather has a crew of four painters, who began the projected three-week job right after Labor Day.
As well as being generous now, Harrison saved the day when the SPCA was built, in the early 2000s. The paint contractor who had committed to doing the job then had not had experience painting epoxy, and he abandoned the job when he realized how hard it was, Hervey said.
“We were down to the wire,”and Harrison stepped in quickly to finish the job well.
Smart and her husband, Brad Smart, have been a “spokesfamily” for the SPCA — but they have been involved with the shelter well before their official roles.
Tiffany Smart moved to the area 20 years ago, she said, and 15 years ago the couple adopted their dog, the late Maggie, from the SPCA in its former location on Virginia Avenue.
“That’s what captured my heart,” she said, adding that the SPCA has been her “charity of choice, where my heart is” ever since then.
The couple, who live in Martinsville, run Serenity Cabinets and Millwork in Bassett. The company, which employs about 40 people, is an architectural millwork firm for hotels, motels and “all aspects of commercial construction,” including cabinets, reception desks and vanities, Smart said.
When the SPCA built its new facility, the Smarts’ company built the lobby workstation-desk. Smart had designed it following input from Hervey.
Now, because it’s time for “a facelift of all aspects of the building, Lou and I will be partnering together” on an entirely new workstation — at absolutely no cost to the SPCA, Smart said.
This new workstation will face the public entry and have its back to the doors that staff and animal control officers use.
Smart and Harris will design it, and “a special building team of an amazing group of talented individuals, truly craftsmen” will build it, Smart said.
Additionally, doors have been getting corroded at the bottom, so Frank Hodges of Hodges Sheet Metal is making stainless steel “boots” for them, Hervey said. That’a value of $5,000 he’s doing for free, she said.
“There’s more to come that I think is really going to be wonderful down there,” Harris said.
Posters and papers that are glued or taped to the wall will be replaced with photographs of previous SPCA animals in frameless glass or acrylic to give “a clean, modern look,” she said.
There is a possibility also to have an interactive screen that can give information by touching it, she said.
In the 12 years in its current location, the SPCA has helped 55,000 animals.
“Think about it,” Hervey said. “Think about how many animals have come through here, and they all leave their little mark.”
Holly Kozelsky is a writer for the Martinsville Bulletin; contact her at 276-638-8801 ext. 243.