R.W. Bruno donating HVAC system to Lincoln animal shelter

R.W. Bruno donating HVAC system to Lincoln animal shelter

Glenn Bruno, whose dad, the late Richard W. Bruno, was a frequent visitor to the Lincoln Animal Shelter, points out shortcomings of the current heating system. (Breeze photo by Nicole Dotzenrod)

LINCOLN – The late Richard W. Bruno was a frequent visitor at the Lincoln Animal Shelter, stopping in to visit the animals and often delivering a coffee to Animal Control Officer Louann Noreau.

“He was always here. He loved to come in and see the cats,” Noreau said of Bruno, who was president of Lincoln-based HVAC company R.W. Bruno.

In January, Bruno succumbed to his battle with mesothelioma, an aggressive form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. To honor his father’s memory and his affection for animals, Bruno’s son and now company president Glenn Bruno has chosen to donate a new HVAC system to the shelter his father so loved.

“When we heard the Lincoln Shelter was accepting bids for an HVAC system, knowing my father’s prognosis, I asked to be put on the bid list. I went into the process knowing I wanted to donate the system to the town,” Bruno said.

The town had planned to implement a “bare bones” system for heating and cooling the shelter, but Bruno has agreed to donate one that’s “far above and beyond what the town had spec’d out originally,” said town engineer Leslie Quish.

“When I saw the original design the town was proposing, I thought, we could do a lot better than this. We’re going to give the animals everything they deserve,” said Bruno. “I know my father would be thrilled.”

The new system will include climate-controlled, heated floors for the dog room, air conditioners, and two energy recovery ventilators that retain heat and energy while bringing in fresh air. A new boiler will further modernize the shelter, going from about 70 percent efficiency to 95 percent efficiency.

The new HVAC system is one of many updates planned for the shelter this spring that will provide additional comfort for the town’s displaced cats and dogs while they wait to find their forever home.

Phase I of the project includes funding for a complete renovation of the existing one-story structure at 25 Wellington Road. In February, ADS Construction was awarded a $250,000 contract for the upgrades, which include new cages and kennel systems, heated concrete floors, a new interior plumbing system and a fresh coat of paint. If there’s money left in the budget, part of the scope includes new counters and cabinets as well.

“I don’t know what would have happened if we did not receive the HVAC donation … we likely would have been over budget and unable to do this project this year … the town is so grateful,” said Quish.

The town has been in talks with officials in Smithfield and Cumberland about the potential of partnering on a combined, regional shelter, but nothing is official yet.

Town administrator Joseph Almond’s 2019 proposed budget includes an additional $31,000 in funding for designing Phase II of the project, which would be an addition on the existing structure. The addition would include an expanded front office and community space for meet-and-greets with animals.

Quish hopes to issue a notice to proceed with Phase I in March.

Meanwhile, the shelter is looking for homes for two male dogs, Roscoe and River, and two female cats, Maggie, an affectionate Maine Coon whose owner recently died, and Carla, who needs a family to love after she was tossed out of a moving car near Twin River Casino. To avoid the stress of moving, Noreau hopes to get the animals adopted before construction begins, when they would be transferred to the Cumberland Animal Shelter.