Shelter ready for construction

BY PAUL OSGERBY | JUNE 17, 2014 5:00 AM

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Felines and canines are itching to get out.

Minor adjustments in the original design for the new Animal Care and Adoption Center have been made in order to build a more cost-effective exterior façade. 

“These small changes aren’t going to affect the overall size of the center, but they will slightly lower the costs,” said Kumi Morris, the architectural services coordinator for the new animal shelter.

Total square footage of the new facility on 3910 Napoleon Lane is set to remain around 9,040 square feet.

Last week, the Iowa City City Council approved the construction of a new animal center on a 6-0 vote, with Councilor Jim Throgmorton absent. The council decided to award Todd Hackett Construction of Muscatine $2.806 million for the project.

Construction will start soon to stay on track for the estimated May 2015 completion date.

“I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head [when construction will begin],” City Councilor Kingsley Botchway said.

The engineer’s estimate for the building at the meeting was $2.83 million.

The alterations from Neumann Monson Architects will not delay the completion date, Hackett Construction said.

The new building will provide ample space to hold animals for observation and meet-and-greets, said Misha Goodman, the director of the animal center.

An emphasis is placed on distinguishing stray animals from adopted pet sections as an easier means to control health.

Another feature will include smaller cat colonies in an effort to manage the health and stress. 

Most importantly, there will be greater space and separation of species, drastically reducing the cacophonous cluster of meows, barks, and other mammalian or reptilian calls in the current facility.

There will also be more office and medical spaces to greater reduce the chance of spreading illness.

“I’m most excited to put the shovel in the ground,” Goodman said.

The new facility model will operate more efficiently for the public, animals, and the staff, she said. It will also be within a much more manageable distance to town for employees and volunteers.

Following the 2008 flood damage to the old animal center, the shelter was forced to move to its current interim location south of town on Sand Road.

Overcrowding has become a prominent issue, and the center has implemented a new program to deal with the high numbers.

People may sign up to temporarily adopt pets for four to six weeks, typically. Animals considered for the program are evaluated for medical or social needs and given to people who will take responsibility for the pets.

“I’m excited for it because the community has needed [a new animal shelter] for a while now,” Botchway said.

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