Community Architecture

Murfin Animal Care Campus

Ever wondered how the animal lovers of Wichita, Kansas met the challenges of outdated shelter facilities and low save rates?

We’ve done a deep dive in this case study, outlining how the City of Wichita’s Animal Shelter and the Kansas Humane Society came together on a single campus. Each element of the new campus was purposefully designed to increase animal adoptions, maximize the budget and withstand the test of time.

Enjoy the following information as an epic architectural journey, or use the links below to navigate directly to the information that piques your interest.

1. Addressing Low Save Rates

2. Setting Goals Through Data

3. Space Planning Diagrams

4. City Shelter Designed for Safety

5. Humane Society Admissions

6. Donor Recognition Design

7. Welcoming, Retail-Style Adoption

8. Kennels: Reducing Noise & Odors

9. Cat and Small Animal Displays

10. In-house Veterinary Suite

11. Retail and Education Spaces

12. Specialized Building Systems

13. Interiors Built to Last

14. Energy Savings Strategies

15. Comprehensive Overview

For the Love of Animals: 'Boots & Birkenstocks' Become a Team

IN 2006, WDM Architects eagerly welcomed the challenge of designing a brand-new campus to serve as the shared home for two distinct entities: the Kansas Humane Society (KHS) and the City of Wichita Animal Services (WAS). These two organizations, although united in their overarching mission to rescue and care for unwanted animals, approached their cause from starkly contrasting vantage points. WAS represents the governmental arm of animal services, while KHS is a non-profit. When these two groups came together on this project, their inherent differences led to the tongue-in-cheek team nickname, “Boots & Birkenstocks.”

Brainstorming Charettes

Together, the team recognized the significance of the project calling it “a once-in-a-lifetime project,” according to Kim Janzen, former President and CEO of the Kansas Humane Society. She elaborated further, that the goal was nothing less than “to build a world-class, state-of-the-art animal care facility for the pets and people of the Wichita community.”

At the helm of this visionary endeavor were WDM’s Stan Landwehr, AIA, as Principal-in-Charge, and the gifted architectural designer, Scott Ramser, AIA. Together with WAS and KHS, they would craft a space to seamlessly blend compassion, innovation, and functionality for both furry companions and the community at large.

Scale model

Project Background: Addressing Low Save Rates

Back in 2003, the Kansas Humane Society (KHS) was operating out of a 50-year-old facility in southeastern Wichita. They had limited resources and faced the disappointing fact that they could only save a mere 23% of the unwanted and homeless pets that found their way through their doors.

Meanwhile, the City of Wichita’s Animal Control Facility operated on the north side of Wichita, as a collection of stray animals and owner-relinquished pets. However, the clock was ticking for these animals, as they only had three days in the shelter before facing euthanasia.

By the time 2008 rolled around, the Humane Society and the City of Wichita’s Animal Control had embarked on a concerted effort to boost adoption rates by shuttling animals between the two facilities. While their joint endeavor succeeded in increasing adoption rates to 44%, it was far from efficient. The issue lay in the fact that the shelter was situated a substantial distance from the Humane Society. This moving animals from one facility to another also added a layer of confusion for the public, particularly when it came to tracking down lost pets.

Dog waiting at an animal shelter

Then, a turning point came when Boeing acquired the aging Humane Society facility. This provided the opportunity the Humane Society had long awaited – the chance to build a better facility. Coincidentally, the City of Wichita Animal Control had been working on a plan to update their shelter, too.

The two groups came up with an ingenious solution of co-locating their facilities on a shared property to streamline operations and alleviate confusion among the public. The new facility found its location on the existing Animal Control site, at the intersection of Hillside and K-96.

By building both KHS and WAS facilities on the same site and at the same time, WDM Architects sought to optimize the budget by utilizing the same materials, such as cages and equipment. This approach not only aimed to maximize efficiency but also to cultivate a unified and inviting atmosphere for both animals and visitors.

Kansas Humane Society Save Rates

Save Rates over the years

Getting Started: Facility Tours, Data Gathering and Setting Goals

WDM led the client teams through a series of facility tours, beginning with an exploration of the existing Wichita Animal Shelter and the Kansas Humane Society facilities. Next, they ventured to ‘model’ shelters in San Diego, California, and Augusta, Georgia, to see firsthand two best-of-class shelters and how they implemented innovative designs for operational excellence. The team also attended a shelter design seminar at the 2005 Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) conference and absorbed the latest industry trends and best practices.

Landwehr also delved deep into published information, conducting extensive research to inform design choices and ensure that every detail of the Murfin Animal Care Campus would be meticulously considered.

Setting the Paramount Objectives

In the pursuit of excellence, the design team set Paramount Objectives to guide the decision-making process throughout the design journey.

Community Resource

The campus would be a community resource to enhance the overall quality of life for both citizens and animals.


Campus embodies the complementary missions of the City of Wichita and Kansas Humane Society.

Healthy & Durable

Prioritize animals, staff, and visitor health by using durable materials.


Ensuring efficient operational flow patterns within and between departments.

Guest Friendly

Campus must be comfortable and inviting with intuitive wayfinding.

KHS Bubble Diagram
Kansas Humane Society Bubble Diagram of adjacencies and functions

Schematic Design: How Workflows and Adjacencies Inform the Design

WDM led an intensive three-day design charette to dig deep into the workflows of the City’s Animal Control and the Humane Society’s staff. To meet the different needs of both animals and people on the campus, each group’s requirements would need careful consideration as to how those requirements would shape the layout of the spaces.

WAS Bubble Diagram
Wichita Animal Shelter bubble diagram of adjacencies and functions

Program Details

Bubble diagrams were employed to study workflows, adjacencies and space needs.

Murfin Exterior Pillars 02

'Why am I here?'

When the public visits Murfin Animal Care Campus, they do so for various reasons. WDM developed a “Why am I here?” methodology to offer clear wayfinding signage.

Murfin has 4 main public entry points, each for a different purpose

  • Found: Bringing a stray to the Animal Shelter

  • Lost: Owners searching for a lost pet

  • Let Go: An owner relinquishing their pet to the Kansas Humane Society

  • Adopt: People coming to the Humane Society to adopt a pet


Based on the purpose of their visit, guests are guided to the correct entry points through a series of pillars and wayfinding signage in the public plaza between the two buildings. Each pillar correlates with a colored concrete pattern on the plaza, intuitively directing visitors to their intended destinations.

City of Wichita's Animal Shelter on the left and the Kansas Humane Society on the right

Wichita Animal Shelter: Designed for Safety

Visitors to the Wichita Animal Shelter enter a spacious lobby with a visually stunning curved reception desk under a vibrant yellow header. A glass wall divides the lobby into two different sections and intersects with the reception desk. On the left side of the lobby, people drop off strays and fill out paperwork while animals are taken to a temporary holding area behind the reception desk.

On the other side of the lobby, visitors seeking their lost pets are guided to the appropriate holding areas to view the animals. When reunited with their beloved pets, they complete the necessary paperwork in a designated ‘reunion vestibule’ before departing.

This cleverly divided lobby is not only a secure buffer between different animal populations but also offers the practical advantage of requiring minimal staffing, as the same dedicated staff can efficiently manage both sides of the lobby desk.

Sketch of Sally Port function for the Wichita Animal Shelter

When animals are brought to the shelter by Animal Control Officers, they are unloaded in the Sally Port on the south side of the building. The Sally Port is as a drive-through that is equipped with double overhead doors and rolling grilles to facilitate the secure transfer of animals from vehicles to the shelter during all types of weather. Animals are kept in temporary holding cages until they can be triaged by staff who review intake paperwork and conduct cursory exams to determine the appropriate holding area.

Murfin Lobby 01
Wichita Animal Shelter lobby is divided with the left for dropping off strays and the right for citizens seeking lost pets

Wichita Animal Shelter Holding

Rabies suspects are subject to a 10-day hold, and Special Hold animals await trial. Legal requirements mandate that shelter animals in Main Holding and Treatment be held for three days. If animals are unclaimed at the end of 3 days, they undergo preliminary assessments for behavior and long-term health issues. If deemed adoptable, they are transferred to KHS via a fenced walkway connecting the two facilities, minimizing escape risks.

Shelter has 4 distinct holding areas for cats and dogs:

  • Main Holding

  • Treatment (for sick and injured animals)

  • Rabies Quarantine (for animals under observation)

  • Special Holding (for owned animals held for hearings, among other reasons)

In 2023, 50% of the animals up for adoption at the Kansas Humane Society came from the Wichita Animal Shelter. “That means every year, KHS pulls more than 5,000 animals from the shelter to help them find homes,” according to the KHS website.

The shelter facility serves other purposes too. Citizens attend vicious animal hearings and administrative reviews in the Conference Room located off the lobby. Those needing to euthanize and cremate animals enter through either the intake lobby or the Sally Port. Additionally, all deliveries, including food and office supplies, are efficiently unloaded at the Sally Port.

Murfin Animal Care Complex site plan schematic

Kansas Humane Society

On the Kansas Humane Society (KHS) side, the workflow design was equally in-depth. Owners relinquishing their pets enter a designated door to the Admissions Lobby. A brief interview, payment, and paperwork facilitate the transfer of ownership to KHS. The animals undergo initial exams and vaccinations, and are placed in isolation wards if any sickness is detected.

Next, dogs go through behavioral assessments using the SAFER program, which stands for Safety Assessment for Evaluating Rehoming. This assessment tool was created by Dr. Emily Weiss, who is a nationally recognized expert in animal behavior. Back in 1999, the Kansas Humane Society reached out to Dr. Weiss with a specific request: they needed an aggression assessment that could quickly and accurately identify safe dogs for adoption, all while being cost-effective—an issue that concerned many shelters. The effectiveness of SAFER was later confirmed in a study conducted at the County of Riverside Department of Animal Services in California. This study revealed that dogs assessed using SAFER had fewer instances of growling and biting compared to those that were not assessed. In 2007, Dr. Weiss was consulted during the design of the three dedicated behavioral assessment rooms at KHS. (

After behavioral evaluations, animals go to spay/neuter surgery if necessary and are put in holding spaces to await space on the adoption floor. Some animals require longer stays for recovery from surgery or behavior modification. Others may be deemed unadoptable due to medical or behavioral issues and are humanely euthanized.

The KHS facility caters to various other needs of the public, including spay/neuter services, owner-present euthanasia, private pet cremation, a retail store, animal training classes, and other tours and programs.

Kansas Humane Society elevation renderings presented to the city of Wichita Design Council

Schematic Design Presentation to the City of Wichita

In April of 2008, Stan Landwehr, project principal and architect from WDM Architects, presented a comprehensive schematic design of the Murfin Animal Care Campus to the City of Wichita’s Design Council. He showed the project site with the Kansas Humane Society (KHS) to the west and the City of Wichita Animal Shelter to the east. These buildings are oriented to face north towards K-96, with a shared plaza entryway nestled between them. Access to the campus is facilitated through entries on Hillside, catering to both public and service access needs. The front portion of the campus is designated for public parking, while the rear accommodates service areas, staff and volunteer parking, and a dedicated drop-off zone for animal control vehicles. Along the west side of the site, three off-leash dog parks were planned.

The design team emphasized to the city officials their commitment to keeping on budget with the project. Noting that as the project evolved, numerous spaces, programs, and features were thoroughly reviewed and modified, leading to the exclusion of elements that had initially been considered.

The resulting 184-page Program and Schematic Design Landwehr presented included a conservative needs analysis, reflecting the pragmatic and cost-conscious approach taken by both the KHS and WAS in shaping the Murfin Animal Care Campus.

Murfin Exterior Entrance 01
Donor recognition in entry plaza

Entry Plaza Honors Donors

The design team engaged local artist Tina Murano to design art elements for the entry plaza to make the facility more attractive and appealing to potential adopters, assist in wayfinding and also a way to honor the generous donors who made the project possible.

The project involved the installation of 30 mosaic circles on the Kansas Humane Society’s exterior wall, which are composed of 60,000 glass tiles in vibrant colors such as green, yellow, blue, and pink. Likewise, squares are installed on the Wichita Animal Shelter’s exterior. These colorful mosaics shimmer beautifully in the sunlight and were artfully crafted by Murano in her Halstead studio.


“One of the things we really like about Tina is that she really helped us convey a sense of fun and openness within the building,” said Kim Janzen, president and chief executive of the Kansas Humane Society.

(quote from “Kansas Humane Society Shelter’s Artful Flair,” by Jennifer Towline, published in The Wichita Eagle, June 6, 2009)

Potential Adopters: Looking for Love

For those visiting Murfin looking to adopt a pet, an entrance leads to a reception desk to register. Then visitors can peruse the adoption floor, where they see animals in doggy apartments and cat condos. If interested, they can arrange to spend one-on-one time with the animals in designated “phone booth” visitation rooms where animals and prospective owners get a chance to bond. Beyond these enclosed spaces, there are also “Get Acquainted” outdoor yards designed for playtime or a chance for the new pup to meet and interact with existing four-legged family members. If visitors and animals make a match, KHS staff guides them through paperwork, provides essential information, and explains behavior programs or medical treatments when needed. Compatibility checks are encouraged for households with existing pets, and adoption fees are settled before taking the new furry family member home.

Two column image


When designing the dog adoption area, the Humane Society president, Kim Janzen raised the concept of Buyer’s Fatigue. Research indicates that too many choices can overwhelm and hinder potential adopters’ decision-making processes. In response, WDM Architects made a strategic decision to limit the number of dogs to 27 in glass-front display rooms, for a less overwhelming experience. The display rooms are arranged in a sawtooth pattern to limit dog-to-dog views between the rooms.

To ensure the dogs are showcased effectively, the design incorporates specific lighting considerations. Hallways and public areas were intentionally kept at a low-light setting, while the dog’s rooms were illuminated with brighter lighting, making them stand out to potential adopters. As an added benefit, lower lighting in the halls creates a reflection within the glass-front rooms, effectively reducing the dogs’ potential agitation from all the unfamiliar faces and the activities occurring outside their rooms. If an individual cannot find the perfect pup among the dogs on display or is seeking a specific breed, they can view the rest of the adoptable dogs in the healthy hold areas at KHS.

Kennel Design: Canine Holding that Reduces Stress, Noise and Odors

During the conceptual design of the kennels, WDM designers were acutely aware of the needs of both the animals and the staff and devised a multifaceted approach to address various aspects of functionality and well-being.

The acoustics in canine holding are very important in reducing the stress levels of both animals and people. Research has shown that the noise level in a room with barking dogs can reach an astonishing 95 decibels, comparable to the noise produced by a jackhammer or just slightly louder than the sound of a passing train. A significant portion of this noise can be attributed to reverberation. To address this, Landwehr followed recommendations from an acoustician to use sound-absorbing, angled ceiling panels to minimize sound reflections. Rather than keeping dogs all in a single room where sound can attenuate, kennels are divided into separate rooms with a limited number of animals in each. Kennels are arranged so that dogs can’t see other dogs, further lessening any potential agitation. The CMU walls between rooms are also filled with sand to provide acoustic mass and minimize sound transfer from room to room. Additionally, measures were taken to prevent sound from traveling between rooms through the design of the HVAC system and other openings.

Boxer In Kennel

Lighting considerations played a pivotal role in the canine holding areas of the Murfin Animal Care Campus. Natural light serves as a crucial cue to help these animals maintain a natural day/night pattern, so skylights were installed for the well-being of the animals.

Brighter lighting is available during cleaning procedures, double the standard illumination levels required for normal daytime operation. Interestingly, dogs perceive a pronounced flickering in standard fluorescent lighting, so specialized fluorescents with a higher flash rate were installed to reduce stress for the dogs staying there. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets and waterproof lighting fixtures were also used, prioritizing safety without compromising functionality.

Murfin Cages 01
Back-of-house kennels for canine holding with natural light from skylights

To optimize space and operational efficiency, back-to-back kennels feature a central trench drain and a central transfer door. This ingenious design allows dogs in holding to have separate relief and sleeping areas. During cleaning, the door can be closed to hose down one side with the dog on the other side. Optionally, the door can be kept closed to use both sides of the kennel for different pups, effectively doubling the shelter’s capacity in case of overflow emergencies.

Kennels are kept clean by scooping solid wastes and then hosing down the runs using a pressurized sprayer system of hot and cold water and selected cleaning agents like a self-serve car wash. A “T Drain Cover” caps a continuous central trench drain, preventing contaminants from being washed into neighboring runs. The cover also prevents small animals or toys from falling into the drains. Additionally, a solenoid-operated water flushing system flushes water down the trenches at timed intervals, preventing the buildup of animal waste between cleanings.

Back-to-back kennels feature a central trench drain and a central transfer door

The plumbing system was designed to manage the unique challenges presented by the continuous influx of dirt, grime, hair, and feces. To address this, no sewer lines in the animal areas were designed with a diameter of less than 6 inches, ensuring robust waste management capabilities. The incorporation of hair traps and cleanouts serve to substantially reduce or eliminate clogs downstream, ensuring the uninterrupted flow of waste.

Hand wash sinks can be found strategically throughout the animal holding and handling areas, ensuring convenience, and promoting proper sanitation practices.

In summary, the design of the Murfin Animal Care Campus, led by WDM Architects, is a comprehensive approach to creating a functional and humane environment for animals, staff, and visitors. Every detail, from kennel layout and lighting to drainage and acoustics, was scrupulously considered to ensure the success of this essential project in the community.

Murfin Kitty Condo 02
One cat colony room at the Kansas Humane Society

Feline Holding and Cat Colonies on Display

WDM Architects located the Senior Cat Colony nearest to the entry, with a captivating window view from the entry vestibule. This thoughtful placement served the dual purpose of immediately capturing the attention of potential adopters and addressing the challenge of finding homes for the more challenging-to-adopt animals.

Within the adoption-ready cat areas, WDM struck a balance between communal and private spaces. The larger cat colonies are designed as spacious open rooms with various climbing towers, platforms, and toys designed to accommodate groups of 10-12 more social cats. WDM incorporated small windows at various heights and locations that serve as mental and physical stimulation for the cats while they take in their surroundings. People are welcome to visit and interact with cats in the colonies.

For cats that may need a larger bubble of personal space, WDM also designed smaller “phone booth” rooms adjacent to the colonies to provide them with a feeling of security. Additionally, vestibules are installed around colony access doors as a safety measure to prevent feline escape artists from darting out into the lobby when unsuspecting people are entering or exiting.

The facility’s design extends consideration to feline residents in back-of-house cat-holding areas. Natural daylighting strategies using sun tunnels optimize illumination in these spaces, too.

Kansas Humane Society adoption floor plan

Small Animal Jewel Display
Jewel case displays showcase small animals up for adoption while lobby area is kept at a lower lighting level

Good Things Come in Small Packages: Small Animal Display Cases

Beyond the more common residents of dogs and cats, the Humane Society also offers its support to rehoming other small creatures in need of loving families, including rabbits, rats, Guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, snakes, and lizards.

WDM Architects proposed a novel concept to display these adoptable small animals that resonated deeply with the project owner: the creation of “jewelbox” display cases. These cleverly crafted enclosures not only serve a functional purpose but also become aesthetic elements within the facility.

To bring this concept to life, the architects collaborated closely with a local plastics manufacturer based for Wichita. Together, they opted to use polyethylene sheets, a material known for its durability and versatility. The choice of polyethylene sheets allowed for the precise customization of each enclosure to suit the needs of different animal species. The enclosures feature ventilation holes arranged in patterns into their sides and tops, echoing the patterns found in the public artwork on the exterior of the building.

One of the most captivating aspects of these display cases is their specially designed lighting systems that cast a soft and inviting glow through the translucent polyethylene sheet enclosures. This illumination not only showcases the animals but also contributes to the ambiance of the space, making it an appealing destination for potential adopters.

State-of-the-Art Veterinary Suite

The Veterinary Suite within the Humane Society building plays a pivotal role in ensuring the health and wellness of the animals awaiting adoption, providing micro-chipping, vaccinations, and spay/neuter surgeries.

The suite boasts two sets of wet/dry prep tables that flank a central service column that supplies power, water, medical gases, and other essentials. Transitioning beyond the prep area through an automatic sliding aluminum door leads to the dedicated surgery space, with up to four surgery tables and exterior windows for natural lighting.

The introduction of glass pass-through cabinets bridges the prep space and the surgery room, facilitating seamless access to additional supplies without the need to exit and disrupt the surgical workflow. A pass-through also expedites the disposal of dirty instruments and linens directly into the sterilization area and surgery pack preparation zone. This seamless integration streamlines the operational flow of the veterinary suite, ensuring a hygienic and efficient environment.

The Veterinary Clinic has a dedicated HVAC system designed to prevent the mixing of air with any other spaces within the facility. The surgery room is engineered with positive pressure and equipped with its own thermostat to maintain optimal conditions for surgical procedures and patient care.

Kansas Humane Society's Retail Space

The Murfin Animal Care Campus boasts a thoughtfully designed retail space where new pet owners can conveniently acquire essential supplies such as leashes and food, ensuring a smooth transition home for both pets and their owners.

Education and Event Space

The KHS facility has a comprehensive Education Center designed to reduce the number of pets surrendered through effective training and education initiatives. This multifunctional space accommodates a range of programs and classes aimed at enhancing the understanding and care of pets:

Volunteer Orientation

This program serves as a vital steppingstone for individuals interested in contributing their time and efforts to the welfare of animals in need.

Youth Education

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts can earn badges by engaging in educational activities that promote responsible pet ownership and compassion for animals.

Obedience Class

Pet Behavior Training

Various courses are available to address pet behavior challenges and enhance the bond between pets and their owners.

These courses include:

  • New Puppy/Kitten Training
  • Basic Obedience
  • Crate Training
  • Housetraining
  • And Baby Makes 4
  • So Your Dog Ate Your Couch
  • Home Alone
  • Managing Multi-Dog Household

Available for Private Events

The Education Center has a separate entrance and can be sectioned off using two rolling grilles, ensuring privacy while maintaining access to the restrooms. Additionally, guests have the unique opportunity to observe one of the cat colonies from this space.

The Education Center stands as a testament to the Murfin Animal Care Campus’s commitment to empowering pet owners with the knowledge and tools they need to provide the best possible care for their furry companions, ultimately strengthening the bond between pets and their families while reducing the likelihood of pets being surrendered due to behavioral issues.

Murfin Training Room 01
Kansas Humane Society Education Center for volunteer orientation, pet behavior training and a venue for private events.

Specialized Building Systems

Professional Engineering Consultants, (PEC), in collaboration with WDM, took a comprehensive approach to building systems for the Murfin Animal Care Campus, considering the vital factors of staff, visitors and animal health and comfort.

Building temperatures are kept within the human comfort range, which also adheres to the Kansas Pet Animal Act’s mandate to keep animal holding areas between 50° and 85° F. The HVAC design is not based on specific codes but does adhere to recommended guidelines endorsed by HSUS and ASHRAE, ensuring the attainment of optimal air quality standards.

Animal holding areas have 12 to 15 air changes per hour, with a fresh air intake rate ranging from 20 to 40 cubic feet per minute per animal. A recommended fresh air percentage of 30% to 50% of total circulated air is maintained, with careful consideration given to various air filtering systems to mitigate the introduction of hair into the system.


“Animal shelters are inherently complex facilities, requiring specialized air handling, plumbing and sanitation systems to ensure animal health while addressing the needs of the human occupants and the visiting public.”
Kim Janzen, former President and CEO of the Kansas Humane Society

To minimize odor transmission, animal and human areas have separate air supply systems. Animal areas have negative pressure, while human areas are maintained at positive pressure to curtail the migration of odors. Tempered exhaust air from human spaces is ingeniously repurposed to supplement fresh air intake in animal areas, reducing the overall energy demand.

In animal holding areas, airflow is designed to drop vertically through linear diffusers into the human (aisle) areas and flow through the animal area, effectively reducing odor, and facilitating floor dryness. Isolation areas are equipped with their own systems to prevent the spread of contaminants and maintain a more negative pressure than other holding areas.

Aerial of Murfin Animal Care Campus when it opened before the grass and plantings came in. The Kansas Humane Society building is above to the west of the Wichita Animal Shelter building. Public access from Hillside is on the north (right) side of the complex.

Fire Protection

In the event of a fire, there would not likely be enough time to evacuate all of the animals from the buildings so a fire sprinkler system has been installed, even though not be required by code.

Meticulous planning and attention to detail by WDM Architects and PEC addresses the unique demands of an animal care facility, ensuring functionality, safety, and the welfare of the animals at the forefront of the project’s priorities.

Break room with durable interior finishes

Campus Interiors: ADA Accessibility and Space Design

To adhere to ADA requirements, the architectural layout of the facility prioritized accessibility. Hallways are designed with a minimum width of 5 feet and doorways are a generous 3 feet wide, accommodating the movement of equipment, animals, and personnel.

To maintain a healthy environment, finishes were chosen for their ability to withstand frequent scrubbing and pressurized sprayers. Moisture-resistant, monolithic surfaces were employed to eliminate even the smallest pores which can potentially harbor viruses and bacteria.

Finishes for Hygiene

Every facet of the construction was considered so that the Murfin Animal Care Campus not only met but exceeded the standards of hygiene, accessibility, and functionality expected in such a specialized facility.



Troweled epoxy flooring up to ¼ inch thick with the inclusion of aggregate for slip resistance was used throughout the facilities except for public spaces, which have colored and polished concrete.


Glazed block and concrete/CMU blocks coated with epoxy paint or clear sealer.


Cabinets are constructed from materials, such as metal or plastic-laminate-clad moisture-resistant medium-density fiberboard (MDF). Countertops are seamless to prevent moisture infiltration.


Fiberglass or galvanized materials that can withstand bleach


Stainless steel, aluminum, or galvanized materials


Suspended with aluminum grids and ceramic acoustic tiles

Kansas Humane Society paint plan

Exterior Texture
Daylighting is used extensively on the Murfin Animal Care Campus

Energy-Saving Strategies

Daylighting Strategies

Windows and numerous skylights were strategically positioned to channel daylight, reducing use of artificial lighting and benefitting occupants’ health.


Motion Sensors

Lighting in staff areas such as storage spaces, restrooms, break rooms, and workrooms come on when activity is sensed and switch off when not occupied.


Roofing & Insulation

White, reflective roofing material minimizes heat gain in summer, while added insulation reduces heat loss in winter, ensuring year-round energy efficiency.


Rain Water Collection

Parking islands are designed to manage rain water on-site instead of costing as much as $40,000 to have underground storm sewer piping installed.


Energy Recovery Ventilators

ERVs reclaim latent energy from exhaust air to temper incoming fresh air, boosting energy efficiency and maintaining optimal indoor air quality.

Measure of Success

For WDM Architects, the measure of success in the Murfin Animal Care Campus project transcended physical construction. It was about harmonizing diverse clients, a tight budget, and intricate workflows to create a beautiful and thoughtfully planned campus that serves the community’s animal lovers and vulnerable pets alike.

Since the opening of the Murfin Animal Care Campus, the save rate has surged from 44% to an impressive 98%. This substantial increase in statistics powerfully exemplifies the influence of well-designed facilities and a comprehensive approach that encompasses adoptions, rescue transfers, fostering, and spay & neuter programs.

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Project Overview

Project Team

Architects: WDM Architects Principal-in-Charge: Stan Landwehr, AIA Architectural Designer: Scott Ramser, AIA Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing Engineering: PEC Structural Engineering: MKEC Engineering

City of Wichita Animal Shelter

Area: 26,000 s.f. Completed: June 2009 Canine capacity: 168 (can double) Felines and exotic animals capacity: 245 $5.93M

Kansas Humane Society

Area: 39,000 s.f. Completed: March 2009 Veterinary Suite: 2,482 s.f. Canine capacity: 177 Feline capacity: 170 Small animal capacity: 14 $7.9M

  • 20 acre campus
  • 3 Off-leash Dog Parks

“In June 2009, we moved into the facility of our dreams – a success due in large part to our decision to engage WDM Architects as our design firm.
Stan Landwehr, lead architect and project manager, was essential to the successful design and completion of our facility. His ability to quickly develop an in-depth understanding of our daily operations, his uncanny focus on detail and his commitment to the quality of the final outcome were extraordinary. The lack of change orders during the construction process is an additional testament to the quality of planning during every part of the design process.” — Kim Janzen, former President and CEO of the Kansas Humane Society

For architectural students, peers, and construction industry professionals, this case study serves as a powerful reminder that well-designed facilities can play a pivotal role in transforming the lives of communities, contributing to a brighter future for all.