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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Consultant hired to study sites, design for new animal shelter

  • In three or four months, Rolla city officials will have a better idea of what to do about a new animal shelter, for Monday night the council hired a consultant to give them a needs assessment and a conceptual design.
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  • In three or four months, Rolla city officials will have a better idea of what to do about a new animal shelter, for Monday night the council hired a consultant to give them a needs assessment and a conceptual design.
    “We’re going to have to have this actively supported by a grassroots effort,” City Administrator John Butz said.
    After talking to people in the business of designing and running shelters, Butz said he has found that a needs assessment survey is the best way to compile the information to present to the public to get that support.
    The support sought from the public, at least at this stage, will be private donations to go along with the $441,000 left to the city by the late Robert Eck. No tax support has been talked about in public council meetings.
    Shelter Planners of America, based in Arlington, Texas, is the consulting firm recommended by Butz following an interview session of the top three of five companies that submitted proposals.
    “They were very, very impressive,” Butz said. The company has been involved in some way with over 700 shelters, and “in 98 percent of the cases” that involvement started with a needs assessment.
    Butz said the interview committee, which included representatives from the police department, the animal shelter and two local animal organizations, was unanimous in the recommendation of Shelter Planners of America.
    The cost for the needs assessment and conceptual design will be $16,800 plus reimbursable expenses. The needs assessment will cost $6,500 and the conceptual design will cost $8,700. Another $1,600 will be charged for additional site evaluations.
    Shelter Planners estimated an additional $3,000 in expenses.
    These charges will be paid from the Eck fund.
    The proposal from Shelter Planners was several thousands of dollars more than the other two firms’ bids, but Butz said the extra cost will be worth it because “this project is going to be so much better.”
    The council agreed; there was no roll call vote, but no voice votes against it were cast.
    Included in the assessment survey will be 30-40 pages of documents explaining the demographics of the “people and animal levels current and projected,” an evaluation of the present facility, ways to improve the existing operations, a study of the budget and staffing levels. The study will recommend “best practices” for equipment, materials and systems. It will recommend animal holding and annual capacities and the size building needed. An estimated cost for the construction will be given.
    The conceptual design will be conducted after the city approves the needs assessment study.
    This will include evaluations for three possible locations. That evaluation will include grading, environmental impact, access and other relevant information. A floor plan will be developed.
    Page 2 of 2 - Butz said a blueprint for an architect will not be provided; that work is far beyond the scope of the conceptual design. An architectural/engineering firm would have to be hired for a blueprint that would cost some 8 percent to 10 percent of the cost of construction.
    Butz said sites to be considered are as follows: city property near the recycling center, the empty Sam’s Tire building, city property on 18th Street and property near Green Acres Park.
    Shelter Planners has already indicated the recycling center area would not be a good place for an animal shelter. It would have been 20 years ago, but current planning philosophy is to put an animal shelter in higher traffic areas to get the animals in front of the public and increase the adoption rate.
    “Have we thought about any under-utilized park land?” Ward 4 Councilman Louis Magdits asked.
    Butz said, “We’ve not looked specifically at parks.”
    Appearing to think aloud, Butz said, “Buehler Park might be a terrific location.” Another possibility would be Murry Park on 10th Street, he added.
    “We’ll come back with some ideas,” he said.
     

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