Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Is the proposed animal shelter too fancy?

The city is considering building a new $6.7 million animal shelter to replace the cramped house and shelter they currently use to register, house and euthanize thousands of cats, dogs and other animals. But the discussion the city council had Tuesday got prickly when Jim Skelton questioned whether designers were adding too many amenities that drive up costs. After all, the very rough cost estimate quoted in 1999 was only $3.3 million -- less than half of the new estimate. Some of the money could be better spent on things like streets, Skelton said, particular in south Wichita. But because the building would be visible from K-96 and Hillside and the new design incorporates three leashless dog parks the public could use, Sharon Fearey said people will want a building that is at least somewhat attractive. (Click on the images above to get a larger view of the proposed layout, conceptual image and site plan.) Designers already made some cuts, though no one said what they were. And, after Tuesday's talk, they're going to look for more places to trim costs.

For years, the city's animal control officials have been working out of a house dubbed the "greenhouse" at 1024 N. Minnesota. The shelter is at 3303 N. Hillside. It was built in 1985, and Environmental Services Director Kay Johnson says the lack of space there leads to an unusually high kill rate, meaning thousands of adoptable cats and dogs are being put down shortly after the required three-day grace period. Last year, 6,300 animals were killed. "That's an unthinkably large number," Johnson said. Under the current plan, the city would pay for their building, the Kansas Humane Society would pay for a similar facility next door and the two would split the cost of excavating the land and building the roads and parking lots. The joint site would make it easier for people to find lost pets, Johnson says, and reduce the number of animals they kill. (Below are images of the existing buildings.)


BKS said...

I can't tell if the proposed animal shelter is too fancy because there are no details published. Are they proposing the equivalent of a spa? After having to go to both the city shelter and the KHS shelter last year, I would be all for building some moderately attractive facilities. In my time of stress and grief, I was horrified at both places. I had to ask someone else to go to search for my beloved pet as I dreaded it too badly. Finally, building costs only go up, not down. After 8 years of studying this, it's time to act.

Anonymous said...

This new facility is long overdue. The number of animals that are currently being put down for lack of space is appalling. I volunteered one time at the facility as a teenager and I was shocked at the number of animals that come and go through that facility. I am all for the new building, but I think that more is needed. There should be some kind of city wide campaign to encourage citizens to spay and neuter their pets. This is a big problem that has been put on the back burner for far too long.

Brent Wistrom said...

Here are a few more details from the PowerPoint council members saw Tuesday:

-- The shelter uses the "latest standards in kennel design." The kennels are large and can be divided so that employees can put an animal in one half of the cage while they clean the other.

-- The air system provides 15 changes of air an hour to prevent odor problems and make it healthier for the animals and workers.

-- The building would be 26,022 square feet.

Few other details were presented, although there is a short video that gives a virtual tour of the entry ways and courtyard between the KHS and city buildings. I'll try to get that up.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a wonderful complex for our furried friends! Much needed and well overdue.

Anonymous said...

We desparately need a new shelter and new code of ethics in working with the animals.

Wichita should be ashame of the way the animals are treated in the current facility.

If budget needs to be cut, then stop the arena. This project is more valuable!

Anonymous said...

Wichita has not taken animal control seriously enough in the past now that we are ready to step up and do the best job possible in this area someone wants to squash it. let them build that shelter as "fancy" or maybe the word your looking for is state of the art or effective as they want as long as they improve the conditions and quality of the service I dont care how big the facility is. god when is wichita going to get it we cant work and live in tiny little buildings forever! no one in this town wants any change we cant keep things the way they were back in the day we dont live that way anymore.

Anonymous said...

Our local leadership decided that since the sales tax was raising extra money, they would just make a fancier, more expensive downtown arena instead of giving the excess back to the tax payers. And now they are complaining about making something nice for the animals? Go back to original arena plan and spend that excess on the animal shelter.

Anonymous said...

When the hell are people going to let go of the "make it pretty" concept and just go for functional? I don't give a damn what it looks like. And I don't give a damn what anybody driving 65 on K96 thinks about how pretty it is. Quit spending money like it falls from the sky.

Anonymous said...

They also put down dogs they do not consider adoptable due to media hysteria: pit bulls, chows, rottweilers, german shepherds..and I forget what else. Really stupid because the only time I was there they had 8 loveable pit bulls and 1 good rottweiler and they were telling me that they can't adopt them out due to shelter policy. Those pit bulls were puppies! Gimme a break. Also the proposed pit bull ordinance is really stupid. Doesn't punish the OWNERS enough! A limit of 2 pit bulls per househould is really silly.

Anonymous said...

It is absolutely not too fancy. It could be twice the proposed size and still not come close to housing all of the stray animals in our community. The city needs to do this and do it now. I urge responsible people of Wichita to do all the can to control the unwanted animal population by spaying and nuetering their animals and adopting from a shelter as a first choice when getting a dog or cat.

Anonymous said...

Lets do some math.. currently the animals stay 3 days, 6000 were put down last year. = 16 or so a day.
So now we want to build a larger facility to house animals longer.
How much longer?
We will still put down 15 to 16 a day, they will just stay alittle longer. hence more food. Now the budget will go up and the taxpaeyrs will be asked to pay more money to feed the animals at the shelter that are staying longer.
Yea.. lets not fix the Education problem in Wichita lets house and feed stray dogs and cats that have a 5% chance of being adopted.

Anonymous said...

Considering the conditions that the Animal Shelter staff and their charges have had to endure, maybe it's time someone stand up for all the animals.
I went to the Animal Shelter once to look for my lost dog, and it was so dimly-lit and sad in there that I was nearly in tears as I left.

Barbara said...

To all the naysayers, and people upset at the cost of this project out there. Before you object to this, you physically go into the buildings, spend time there. If you have any ounce of compation and moral standards at all you will be in support of this project. Wichita should be ashamed at how we have "managed" our lost, pet control issues...a majority of people here use the out of site, out of mind policy. And it needs to end. If we can afford to build a arena, we can afford to build a up-todate, clean, well lit, people and animal friendly place. A place you would not be afraid to take your child to see and new puppy, kitty, dog or cat to welcome to your home. I tried to take my kids there to get an animal, they took one look and refused to go in there. Is this how we teach our children to take care of animals? I have only compation for the workers and volunteers who take thier time to work with Wichita's lost and unwanted.

Anonymous said...

The budget was presented as $5,620,527.00 for a 26,022 square foot building. The Professional fees were listed at (7.7%) $431,010.00 and a construction contingency of (12%) $674,463.00 for a total budget of $6,726,000. This calculates to a building that costs $215.00 per square foot. I believe the Wichita USD 259 just bid two new schools that cost less then $130 per square foot. I love my dog but not more then my kids. I want quality buildings we can be proud of, but this seems excessive.

bks said...

People shopping for an adoptable animal are much more likely to go to facilities that are bright, clean, and where the animals are perceived as "New or Certified Pre-owned". Who wants to go searching at facilities that look like holding cells in dungeons, and the animals are perceived as "Used, Abused and Condemned?" Look at successful adoption centers that sell animals for hundreds of dollars each.

BR said...

Geez where to start, well I'll give it a shot. BKS... you are horrified, what have you done to remedy the situation? I am sure you have voluteered your time at the Humane Society. and probably even donated money to them. Try volunteering and learn a little since you love animals so much.

Anonymous # 1 says:
"When the hell are people going to let go of the "make it pretty" concept and just go for functional? I don't give a damn what it looks like. And I don't give a damn what anybody driving 65 on K96 thinks about how pretty it is. Quit spending money like it falls from the sky."

my answer is.... Anonymous # 1 you are an ignorant slut, Let me try to explain, in small words so a few of you other "anonymous posters" can follow along.

The City will have a facility, which will be able to take care of their primary duty, animal control. They will enforce the laws that "animal control officers" have to enforce. Things like picking up strays, dealing with agreesive animals, dogs, cats, squirrels, possums etc. and picking up deceased animals.

Currently the Wichita Animal Shelter holds dogs for 3 days...If they are ot picked up by their owners or a rescue group, then they are gone.

If they are adopted, in that time frame, you get the animal as is...

The beauty of this project is that once the hold time of 36 hours is complete, the animals go to the Humane Society, which will be right next door.

By the way for all you mensa members, the KHS is not a govt funded foundation. None of your precious tax dollars will be spent to: spay/neuter/immunize/house/feed/adopt, or pay wages for any of these services.KHS has that covered, but they could use some help.

Dogs will available for adoption whatever the breed be, pit bulls, rotwieler, etc. If they pass the evaluation, they are on the adoption floor.

Anonymous#2 says:
Yea.. lets not fix the Education problem in Wichita lets house and feed stray dogs and cats that have a 5% chance of being adopted

Hey anon #2, once again, I will use little words. KHS will be the adoptees. Maybe part of the education process that needs fixed is the fact that that "most people" should stop reproducing. or at the very least, turn off their cable tv, internet, and or game system. Spend some quality time with the kids outdoors teach them values, and go outside for one reason or another, hey maybe go walk the dog?

If animals misbehave, we euthanize them, spank them, or hit them on the nose with a rolled up newspaper, maybe you should do that with your kids... Make the world a better place, used a rolled up paper on anons2 kids face.

Well gotta go,