Renovated home for Summit County’s furry friends on track |

Renovated home for Summit County’s furry friends on track

The furry, four-legged residents of the Summit County Animal Control Shelter are on track to be given the best Christmas present of all next year: a newly renovated home.

The county’s plans to update the aging facility are gradually moving forward and a conditional-use permit has been filed with the Summit County Planning Department. If and when the permit is approved by the East Side Planning Commission, the project will be up for bidding.

The Summit County Council had a lively discussion with animal control director Brian Bellamy Wednesday about the kinds of improvements council is interested in seeing incorporated into the building’s future design, which will include green building practices.

When the County Council adopted the FY 2015 budget in December, they also approved an $800,000 request to upgrade the shelter in Wanship. The renovations will provide secure holding spaces for dogs and a recreation area for cats, among other improvements that will nearly double the facility’s size.

"It’s not that big of a project, so hopefully we can get it finished this year," Bellamy said.

One of the caveats attached to the County Council granting the funding was that it would be given the opportunity to provide input and direction during the design stage.

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"We wanted their input and I think the council had a couple of great ideas," Bellamy said.

"They want to further their sustainability agenda so we are also looking at putting solar panels on that facility."

The building has not had any major updates since it was built about 25 years ago, resulting in an out-of-date ventilation system and cramped spaces.

The cats are housed in two self-contained rooms with 43 kennels, but there isn’t proper ventilation between the rooms. The first room is used for cat evaluation and the second houses adoptable cats.

The 2,853-square-foot facility has only 12 indoor dog kennels and six outdoor kennels. The lack of space requires the shelter to house "biters" and rabies quarantined dogs with the adoptable ones. When space is really limited, the kennels are divided in half to double the amount of dogs that can be housed.

While puppies are separated from the full-grown dogs, they are put into a minimally heated hallway between the kennel area and the officers’ room. During the winter, space heaters help maintain a temperature of approximately 50 degrees, Bellamy said.

The 2,056-foot proposal would add:

  • 12 indoor dog kennels
  • 13 indoor/outdoor dog kennels
  • Separate puppy kennel wing with a play area
  • Cat/kitten play area
  • Separate cat and kitten viewing rooms
  • Pet receiving/adoption area
  • Indoor food storage
  • New HVAC
  • Work stations for officers
  • Updated security

Since the addition will be built around the existing structure, the renovations won’t cause the animals to be relocated during the process, Bellamy said.

"We will do it step-by-step so it shouldn’t disrupt them," he said. "If it gets really hectic, we work with some really great rescues in the area who, I’m sure, wouldn’t mind helping us house the animals."

Bellamy is working with the design firm EDA Architects, in Salt Lake City, on the project. With the County Council’s clear direction, the design process will continue as EDA figures out how to incorporate the council’s suggestions.

"I wish prior directors had looked at this, but now is the right time to get it done," Bellamy said. "It would have been great if this could have been done before, but unfortunately it wasn’t. Now we are building something for the future and are looking at 10 to 15 years out.

"We don’t follow the same practices we did five or 10 years ago," he added. "Any animal that is adoptable, we save. And this will allow us to keep these animals in better shape in our facilities before we can adopt them out."