Work begins on shelter

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

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Shovels will strike dirt today to begin construction on a new, less cluttered home for cats, dogs, and other animals eagerly waiting at the current Iowa City Animal Care & Adoption Center.

“We’re finally going to put the shovel in the ground or maybe a pooper-scooper,” said Misha Goodman, the director of the center, 4852 Sand Road S.E.

City and animal-shelter officials are holding a public celebration today for breaking ground at the new location, 3910 Napoleon Lane.

The event is held between the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area and the softball fields near Sand Road Southeast.

Mayor Matt Hayek will make a short presentation, followed by speeches from other officials involved with the project, including Police Chief Samuel Hargadine and Goodman.

“I think that this will be a good project,” said Kumi Morris, the architectural services coordinator for the city. “Everyone has a conscientious effort.”

Morris also said that contractors and developers have held preconstruction meetings and started clearing the area for the event.

Estimated costs for the project is around $2.8 million; the new center is slated for completion in May 2015.

Goodman said the new facility will feature sustainable temperature control, higher water pressure, and separation of species as well as the staff from the public. By organizing the animals more appropriately, disease can be better managed, she said.

Project plans also show that there will be more office and medical rooms as well as an emphasis on smaller cat colonies.

“[The design] is intended to lower stress for the animals,” said Liz Ford, an animal-care technician at the shelter.

The new location is situated closer to the city, which Ford said means that there will be a lot more volunteer opportunities and options.

During the 2008 flood, the original animal shelter, located at the intersection of Clinton Street and Kirkwood Avenue, was irreparably damaged. The shelter then moved to its interim address several miles south of town, where overcrowding is a primary concern.

In the new facility, there will be open spaces for observation and separate rooms for animal meet-and-greets.

“I think this is going to be great for the community to come out with us tomorrow,” Ford said. “We’re here for the community.”

No delays are expected for construction, said Morris, which means the timeline is basically set in stone.

“I just can’t wait for the party when we open up the new building,” Goodman said.

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