City Administrator John Butz in January will likely suggest to the council a plan for hiring an architectural firm to take a look at what the city needs to build to replace the animal shelter that is on property for sale.
He will also likely talk to the council about various ways the city can raise money without a tax increase.
"At the workshop in October, the council asked that I come back (with that information)," Butz said in an interview Thursday afternoon. "I'm probably going to do that at a January meeting. I'm not sure which one."
Butz said an architectural firm would conduct a needs assessment for a conceptual design at an expected cost of $8,000 to $12,000. The assessment would include information about square footage, number of cages and other pertinent facts.
Butz said that because the building will be financed by charitable giving and donations, the city will have to look for some help.
"We are going to have to find someone who is experienced in fundraising," Butz said.
Although the city has seed money of $441,000, which was left to the city for an animal shelter by the late Robert Eck, a longtime Rolla businessman, it's going to take a lot more money than that to complete the project, according to Butz.
Last week, Butz, other city and county officials and representatives of private agencies that care for animals met with representatives of a Kansas City architectural firm.
Williams Spurgeon Kuhl & Freshnock Architects Inc. experts spoke to the group about the current state of design work for animal shelters.
WSKF has been one of the firms Butz has been using a resource in his fact-gathering process.
"I got a call from them. They said they would be glad to swing by here and talk to us," he said. "I sent a note to some people to come and meet with them."
It wasn't just a sales call, Butz said. In fact, he would not even characterize it as that, although he acknowledged WSKF wants to be considered by the city when the time is right.
Valuable information was shared by WSKF at the meeting, Butz said.
"They just finished one in Leavenworth (Kan.) of 8,000 square feet," Butz said. The cost of that facility was $200 per square feet.
District Two Commissioner Gary Hicks said at the Dec. 10 commission meeting that he heard other animal shelters cost $245-$280 per square feet. The lifespan of an animal shelter, Hicks was told, is about 20 to 30 years.
That's why a fundraising effort is going to be needed, Butz said.
"It's going to take more than bake sales," he said of the fundraising. Bake sales and other contributions can, of course, help, but to raise the amount of money that appears likely to be needed will take some large donations supplemented by community endeavors.
Page 2 of 2 - Currently, Butz said, fundraising and building a new animal shelter isn't a "front-burner" issue. Neither the council nor the public are engaged, although there are pockets of support where people want to immediately move forward.
"This could take two, three, four years to get done," he said.
What could change that is if the property on which the animal shelter sits sells. It is listed, and there is council interest in stepping up efforts to sell the property.
"We need to find property" for construction of an animal shelter in case the current property sells unexpectedly. "If we didn't have the property the shelter is on for sale, we could stay there for years."
In previous meetings about a new animal shelter, county officials have been asked if they would be willing to participate in funding a new shelter, but no such commitment has been made yet.
Phelps County Sheriff Rick Lisenbe said during the Dec. 10 commission meeting that people who live outside the city limits of Rolla in the county "take care of business" when it comes to stray, sick or injured animals or pets, meaning property owners usually shoot the strays.
Lisenbe also asked how many more employees would be needed to catch strays throughout the county. He added that by the time a deputy responds to a call made about a stray animal somewhere in the county, the stray would not still likely be at that location.
Hicks said he is not sure if the county can participate and that others don't understand the county's hesitancy to be a part of this project because the resources are not available to do so.
Paul Hackbarth contributed to this report.