Plans to expand and upgrade a dilapidated building where the Humane Society spays and neuters 6,000 strays yearly might get a green light from Columbia City Council Tuesday.
Council is poised to approve a contract to design a 10,000-square-foot metal-wall building that in about a year will provide space for Humane Society of the Midlands services as well as offices for Columbia animal control officers and spill-over housing for cats when the city’s regular shelter space is full.
If construction bids for the $700,000 building come in low enough, the city might convert some space into a dog-training operation for adopted pets that are unruly, said Marli Drum, the city’s superintendent of animal services. “I hope to include private trainers down the road,” Drum said Monday.
The city is to construct the shell of the building and the Humane Society would pay for interior features in its 55 percent share of the new structure, said Drum and Humane Society director Wayne Brennessel.
The 1960s-era structure at the centralized animal shelter off Shop Road is in such bad condition that it borders on being subject to condemnation, Brennessel said.
The current 6,000-square-foot metal building where a Humane Society veterinarian performs surgeries is in “sorry, sorry shape,” Brennessel said. “I’ve been told anecdotally that if a building inspector came in, the building would be condemned,” he said.
Roof leaks have damaged the flooring to the point the building, enlarged and repaired several times, is now beyond repair, Drum said.
The Humane Society occupies 3,200 square feet of the building – which is not where city strays are kept, said Brenessel and Drum. Under an agreement that has not been finalized, the private organization would get 5,500 square feet in the new structure.
“We’re tailoring the interior to suit the needs of the Humane Society,” Brennessel said of his group’s portion. The organization plans to launch a fund-raising drive.
The city will use none of its part of the new building for dog kennels because the shelter has enough space for dogs, Drum said.
Overall, the three-building shelter took in 10,128 animals in fiscal year 2013-14. Of those, 6,239 were euthanized; 2,270 were sent to other adoption agencies and 888 were adopted, according to animal services records. The rest were retrieved by their owners.
Few construction timetables have been nailed down, said Drum, Brennessel and Bob Probst, the city’s construction administrator.
Probst estimates it will take three to 31/2 months to get construction documents; 11/2 months for bids; and six months to build the structure.
“We’re looking at a year or a little less,” Probst said of completing the project.
Tuesday’s vote is whether to award a $76,335 architectural and engineering design contract to Studio 2LR, a local firm. That would come from the overall $700,000 that council appropriated in the 2012-13 annual budget, said budget director Missy Caughman.
The current building is to be demolished and both the city and the Humane Society will either squeeze into existing buildings or bring in mobile trailers during construction. Services will not be interrupted.
The design contract does not call for fire sprinklers in the new building and Drum said that none of the buildings at the animal shelter has sprinklers.
Under the current arrangement, the Humane Society uses 55 percent of the building’s space and pays all the utility bills, Brennessel said.
“We’ve been talking about this program for 11 months to a year,” he said. “We’re very appreciative of the city’s support.”