Austin Dog Alliance celebrates its "New Hope Ranch" in Cedar Park with Grand Opening Gala

Top Quote Austin Dog Alliance, the nonprofit known for its therapy-dog work with youth on the autism spectrum, will celebrate the opening of its 7-acre teaching campus with music, magic, and silent auction on March 23. End Quote
  • Austin-San Marcos, TX (1888PressRelease) March 20, 2013 - It takes a village to raise a child, and it took a community to build the "New Hope Ranch," where children and youth will work with therapy dogs, attend camps, train their pets and learn job skills. The Austin Dog Alliance will celebrate that community with a Grand Opening Fundraising Gala on Saturday, March 23 at the 7.1-acre ranch located at 1321 W. New Hope Drive in Cedar Park, where it will thank the Central Texas businesses and individuals who made it possible.

    "This is truly a facility that belongs to the community, because the community built it," says Debi Krakar, Alliance executive director. "Once we announced that we needed a new home to expand our services, businesses and individuals stepped up and asked what they could do to help."

    Staff members from O'Connell Robertson designed the site and building, and the firm donated the plans. Big Red Dog Engineering designed the site plan and Land Interactive planned the xeriscaped grounds. In all, 65 businesses volunteered time and materials, including Joe Bland Construction, Austin Bridge and Road, ASAP Electrical, G Carter Construction, Responsive Mechanical, Forever Lawn Austin, Trade Master's Group, APAC/Wheeler, Legacy Lighting, Acuity, ARA Land and Michael Murray Law.

    "One day, a dozen Dell employees would show up to clear land. Another day IBM employees would be there to demolish the old kitchen," says Krakar. "With our regular volunteers, we probably had more than 300 people pitching in to make this facility a reality. And we have to thank the City of Cedar Park for supporting us through the entire project."

    "We were fortunate to have a beautiful piece of land to work with, so we worked to minimize the impact on surrounding environment," says Jason Andrus, Senior Associate at O'Connell Robertson. "We remodeled the existing house on the property to minimize waste and incorporated high-efficiency heating and cooling, windows, insulation and appliances. Deep porches prevent direct sunlight in the building, and interior materials are warm, but durable."

    The completed Phase I facility includes a 3,500 square-foot main building featuring a large training room, an early childhood classroom, a doggie boutique, conference room and offices, a comfort center for parents waiting for students, shaded porch seating, free Wi-Fi, a kitchen and a coffee bar. In back is a handicapped accessible 10,500 square-foot artificial turf agility field, and 5.5 acres of woods and trails. Phase II will add 6,500 square feet of conference and training space.

    "We designed the property for children and adults of all abilities," says Krakar. "And for our students on the autism spectrum, we wanted it to be a calming atmosphere, so we paid particular attention to reducing visual and auditory distractions."

    Joe Bland Construction furnished and installed fire protection, provided grading work, furnished and installed the crushed stone base for parking and connected water lines. "Once we learned what the Austin Dog Alliance does and how they work with children, we wanted to give back to the community through them," said owner Joe Bland. "We were proud to be able to help."

    With the expansive new home, the Alliance and its staff of 10 instructors and trainers is expanding its services and class offerings, adding a K9 Tot Preschool for children aged 3-5, a Bow Wow Fitness class, "nosework" and agility classes, spring break camp, an extended summer camp program and a special summer camp just for children with autism, in addition to its many popular dog manners and pet therapy classes.

    The Grand Opening Fundraising Gala will be from 7 pm to 10 pm and will feature magician Bobby Cordell, singer Erin Ivey, a silent auction, food, drink and a celebration of achieving this milestone. Tickets are $75 per person and available the website.

    About Austin Dog Alliance
    Located in Cedar Park, Texas, just north of Austin, the Austin Dog Alliance, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization, provides unique group social-skills development programs for children with autism spectrum disorder that incorporate the use of canine-assisted therapy and applied behavior analysis (ABA). Therapeutic programs are provided through a partnership with ABA Today, LLC. Austin Dog Alliance also provides handler-dog teams to local hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes, and schools and libraries through its Bow Wow Reading Dog program. The Alliance's staff of professional dog trainers also provides a variety of dog training classes, including dog manners, pet therapy, agility and summer camps for both typically developing kids and those with special needs.

    The Austin Dog Alliance's "Build Our Forever Home Capital Campaign" is raising $450,000 to complete Phase II of its New Hope Ranch in Cedar Park. Staff members from O'Connell Robertson volunteered their time to design the site and building, and the firm donated the plans. Other firms donating their services include: Joe Bland Construction, Legacy Lighting, ForeverLawn Austin, Big Red Dog Engineering, Land Interactive, APAC Texas, Austin Bridge and Road and more than 60 other local businesses.

    Media Contact:
    Debi Krakar
    Executive Director, Austin Dog Alliance
    1321 West New Hope Drive
    Cedar Park, Texas 78613
    Cell: 512.576.8300
    Email: debi ( @ ) austindogalliance dot org

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