SUISUN CITY — Bill Ostrander is soon going to have enough to keep him busy and out of trouble.
The longtime volunteer at the Suisun Wildlife Center will embark on another building project set to begin possibly at the end of February. He will construct a new display aviary that will eventually house three more unreleasable birds.
With $5,000 for the 8-foot by 12-foot by 30-foot structure raised through donations and coupled with a newly procured grant worth $36,000, the wildlife center – a local haven for injured wildlife – will see its most significant construction since its original facility was built.
The grant, issued by the Solano County Parks and Recreation Commission, set in motion the dream of an education building that was born when the original building was built more than two decades ago. The cement pad was even laid, but the funds just weren’t there, said Monique Liguori, the executive director.
In the wildlife center’s case, the second time is the charm. Liguori said it tried once before to get the grant, but was turned down.
“It’s actually finally going to happen,” she said of the grant money that will be used for building materials.
The small lobby at the wildlife center can now accommodate about 20 people “in a real pinch,” Liguori said.
“And it is a pinch,” she said, laughing.
The new building – designed for no cost by Curtis Caton of Pyatok Architects, Inc., in Vallejo – will accommodate 72 people, which will help when local schoolchildren visit.
“Classes really can’t come to us (right now),” she said. “We can provide a better education opportunity if they (could).”
To help complete the building, Shell Martinez Refinery is giving the center another $10,000 for materials – $5,000 last year and a matching figure this year – in addition to supplying volunteers to help with construction. Home Depot will also supply volunteers.
In contrast, the aviary will be a one-man show. Ostrander, who enjoys working by himself, said that he’s either built or had a hand in building nearly all the structures surrounding the main building. He and his wife have been volunteers since 1991. The former geophysicist said the projects are rewarding.
“I’m using skills that I never used when I was working,” he said. “I always wanted to build a house and now I’ve gotten to build a bunch of houses for animals.”
Both projects are slated to be completed before summer.
Another potential grant worth $10,000 from U.S. Bank to benefit the education program is in the works. The proposal is in and Liguori is hopeful for a decision “anytime,” she said.
For more information on the Suisun Wildlife Center, go to www.suisunwildlife.org.
Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.