The shelter design team — including members of the city engineering and police departments, architects and consultants — laid out an “aggressive” timeline for constructing the new shelter on an acre of land at the corner of Paradise and Grant Line roads.
There has been a developing need for a new shelter because the facility at 370 Arbor Ave. is unable to accommodate a growing number of animals.
Bruce Playle, of Indigo Hammond & Playle Architects, said the first phase of the 6,000-square-foot shelter should be completed by mid-2015.
Another public meeting at 5:30 p.m. June 5 at City Hall Room 203, 333 Civic Center Drive, will show the conceptual plans for the shelter’s design.
Lani Smith, support operations division manager for the police department, said the design team hopes to send recommendations to the City Council on June 18 for final approval.
Playle said that, once approved, he expected the plans to be completed and out for construction bid by February.
Construction could take a year to 14 months, Playle said, a schedule that frustrated many residents in the audience.
Pam Summers, a volunteer with Animal Rescue of Tracy, said animals will suffer until the new building is complete.
“Our frustration is in the animals we will lose between now and then because we don’t have room,” Summers said. “We’re such a huge city now, we have so many more animals — we have such a small capacity. So many animals have to be euthanized or moved right away because we fill up in a day.”
Ripon Bhatia, a senior city engineer and project manager for the new shelter, said the process was moving as fast as possible.
“This is an aggressive schedule for an animal shelter,” Bhatia said. “It takes about a year for a building this size.”
Design team member Martha Seng, of Jackson & Ryan Architects — a company that designs animal shelters across the country — said addressing animal care needs for the new shelter takes time.
“Your shelter … is going to be specific to your community,” she said. “That’s one reason the design process takes the time that it does. We want it to answer your needs.”
Seng said four goals were addressed in the design, with the adoption of animals as the top priority.
“We know what will promote adoptions, what will drive people to your shelter and make them come and want to adopt one of your animals,” she said. “This is going to be a building about animals.”
The No. 1 goal, she said, is to make the shelter an animal-friendly destination.
Kate Hurley, from the Koret Shelter Medicine Program at University of California, Davis, said the shelter will focus on meeting the animals’ needs, both physical and behavioral.
Hurley is a member of the design team and specializes in shelter care for animals.
“The budget is modest, but we are not making compromises for the animals,” she said.
Design features such as larger kennels and access to the outside should help reduce stress for dogs at the shelter.
Cats will have two-sided cages, giving them separate areas for eating and using the bathroom — a change from the cramped cages at the existing shelter.
Hurley said lowering stress for the animals means they will behave better and have a greater chance of getting adopted.
Other housing features planned for the new shelter include a separate area for feral cats, a bath and grooming space for dogs and a dedicated place for dogs and cats to meet potential new owners.
A 2,500-square-foot run space will provide an area for dogs to exercise.
“We are making sure phase one gives you all your basic needs,” said Playle, the architect. “We can only expect animals to be adopted if we can draw people in.”
Plans for an exam room and hospital will wait for the second phase of construction, which will add an additional 6,000-square-foot building and increase the property to more than two acres.
No funding or timeline for the second phase of construction has been set.
With the new shelter still nearly two years away, visitors at the meeting asked about other options or temporary buildings to help with crowded kennels until the new shelter opens.
Animal control supervisor Ben Miller said he and others are working as fast as possible through the planning process.
“We’re pushing this through as quickly as we can from our side,” Miller said. “I can promise everyone in this room that we are building the best project we can for the money we have.”
At the June 5 meeting, three designs will be discussed, including specific interior details.
The design team will take the three proposals to City Council and give recommendations on the project at the June 18 council meeting.
• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.