The Pennsylvania SPCA Lancaster Center is a no-kill animal shelter in downtown Lancaster. Since opening in 2015, the center has facilitated 50 to 70 animal adoptions per month and offers low-cost veterinary services to the community.
In fall 2018, the staff made a concerted effort to address the shelter’s lack of acoustic control, which had been plaguing visitors and staff since the building’s opening. The process of adopting a dog was often a deafening experience for potential pet-owners, and communication between staff members was impossible whenever the dogs began to bark.
“People would come in with young children, go into the kennel, immediately come back out and the kids would be crying because it was so loud,” recalls Rachel Golub, the site manager. “Some people who were visiting us frequently in search of a new pet started bringing ear protection to cover their children’s ears.”
The 6,300-square-foot facility consists of a concrete floor, concrete block walls and a sloped roof of corrugated aluminum—all highly durable, easy-to-clean surfaces that stand up to the extreme demands of paws and claws. These surfaces also are excellent at reflecting sound—and when one dog begins to bark in the kennel area they all tend to join in, unleashing a cacophony of ear-splitting reverberation that ricochets around the space.
When the Malvern, Pa.-based CertainTeed Ceilings team learned about the kennel’s acoustic issues, they donated ceiling product and coordinated the labor to install it. The project had two main areas for remediation: First, a suspended ceiling was installed over the main kennel area to help control acoustics and improve occupancy comfort for visitors. Second, a series of four free-hanging design-forward clouds were hung in the lobby area to provide a more inviting first impression.
After the installation by Tiger Walls & Ceilings LLC, Steelton, Pa., the sound inside the kennel is noticeably tamer. The smaller vertical area and fiberglass surface also create a warmer ambiance in the kennel.
“The first day with the new ceiling, my staff came in and remarked on how quiet it was in comparison to the day before,” Golub says. “Dogs still bark—but it doesn’t echo and it doesn’t come at you twice as loud like it used to.”
Photos: ROBERT POLETT