Dog owners in Big Rapids can now stave off a soaking or other weather-related issues during visits to the Brutus Dog Park, thanks to a 304-square-foot structure recently installed by Associated Construction Students from Ferris State University.
Junior Jay Janutol, of Troy, is the ACS chapter president, who said crews of six to eight students took part in the installation the weekend of Oct. 9-11, followed by the last round of work on Friday, Oct. 16. The Janutol, a Construction Management major, said the gazebo on posts has a roof that peaks at 11 feet high, with corrugated metal to keep out rain and frame the structure.
“The east and west sides are open to the elements, but there are sliding Plexiglas windows on the north and south sides of the gazebo, which should accommodate several dog owners and their pets if there is a sudden change in the weather,” Janutol said. “The plans were drawn up by an Architecture student several years ago, and the city’s Civil Engineering Technician Cody Wyman approached our registered student organization to take up the project.”
Janutol said a variety of sponsors provided materials to build the gazebo. The organization received a positive reaction to its work, based on comments during the students’ first weekend on-site. Big Rapids City Manager Mark Gifford, a Ferris alumnus, said that this project meets a significant need for park users.
“There are many people at the park each day, both year-round city residents and students from Ferris, who bring their pets,” Gifford said. “At one point a few years ago, those residents who were bringing their dogs in the winter had a makeshift shelter in place. We are so thankful that the Architecture program presented the original design. It is wonderful that the ACS students were willing to see this through and put the structure in place before the season changes.”
“This was originally supposed to be taken up last Spring, but as with many things, the COVID-19 pandemic set the work aside,” Janutol said. “We would be interested in using our talents in the construction of another structure at the park, but our next volunteer project will find us working on a build at the New Hope Center homeless shelter in Cadillac, yet this month.”
Gifford said that many people and their pets should benefit from this collaborative effort.
“It shows the immeasurable value that Ferris presents in our community,” Gifford said. “I know that the users of Brutus Dog Park are ecstatic about what has been put in place.”