Dogs and residents alike are in for a treat after the Temple City Council approved a $4.43 million project Thursday.
The long-awaited expansion to the Temple Animal Shelter was approved unanimously. Officials said the expansion would include more space for dogs at the shelter as well as improve existing areas of the building.
Construction on the shelter, located at 620 Mama Dog Circle, is expected to begin in December and be completed by August 2023. The shelter is operated by the Temple Police Department.
Deputy Police Chief Allen Teston said the improvements would serve multiple purposes.
“The shelter improvements will positively impact the animals that are housed there, the residents that visit and the staff that work there,” Teston said. “By improving the overall experience, we hope to increase adoptions, which is the ultimate goal of the facility, while still providing a comfortable space for the animals during their stay.”
Officials said the city currently hopes to keep the animal shelter open during the construction process.
Improvements that are part of the project include rearranging existing office and kennel space, exterior signage, a redesign of the building’s entrance and the construction of exterior play space for dogs.
One of the most important series of improvements will be the addition of 40 new dog kennels, bringing the total up to 70.
Belinda Mattke, director of purchasing and facility services, said this is needed as most days all of the existing kennels are full. She also noted that these new kennels will also have access to the outdoors so dogs can exercise and get fresh air.
For both the new and existing kennels, officials said an air-conditioning system would be added.
“We need to provide some air conditioning to the main dog kennel areas,” Mattke said. “That is for disease control for the dogs but also for the public. When you go in there in the middle of the summer, you want to get out because it is so hot.”
Mattke said that another improvement to the building would be swapping existing doors and frames with fiberglass alternatives. She said this was to prevent rust, which the facility has had problems with and been cited for in the past.
The project will also include an improvement not related to the animal shelter, but is on the same property.
That improvement is the reactivation of a car washing facility that existed on the property before the city purchased the land and demolished many buildings for the current animal shelter.
“There was a car wash that was added not long before we took it out of service back in the late 1990s,” Mattke said. “We took it out of service but everything is still there and we have a need in the police department to safely, and in accordance with the law, wash vehicles.”
While the original cost of the project was supposed to be about $3.7 million, rising costs led to a budget amendment adding $1.2 million to the project.
Officials said that the price also includes $100,000 to cover any possible changes made during the contraction process.
“There is contingency included here because when we are doing a project, especially a renovation project like this, we can’t account for everything,” Mattke said. “We don’t know everything we are going to run into, so that $100,000 is there to protect us should things pop up as we move along in construction.”
These funds would only be used with permission from the city and will be returned if left unused.
After factoring the costs of the improvements, and money already spent by the city, the project is expected to have more than $210,000 remaining in the project fund.
“Additional funding is needed to fund the project due to escalating and volatile construction costs,” Kiara Nowlin, spokeswoman for the city, said. “The need for additional funding for the project was anticipated, but the funds were held in a contingency account versus adding it to various projects.”