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.)