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Animal Shelter Cost to Exceed $1 Million

The price is several hundred thousand dollars more than originally expected.

The cost to build a new animal shelter in Attleboro will be pricier than city officials had expected. Building Commission Chair Jack Jacobi told the City Council on Tuesday that he and his fellow commissioners spoke with three potential architects recently, and all said in separate conversations it would cost in excess of $1 million to build the 3,600-square-foot building. 

Jacobi said city officials thought the cost would be $600,000 to $700,000.

"We all fell out of our chairs," said Jacobi about the reaction from commissioners upon hearing that the price would be $295 to $300 per square foot, as opposed to $200 he said municipal building projects usually cost.

Jacobi said state regulations, including the prevailing wage law that sets minimum wages for workers, makes the price much higher than it could be. City Councilor Peter Blais said the price for this project could be cut by one third if not for these regulations.

"We've got to get some legislation passed in this state so we don't have to spend those kinds of dollars … on a small project … This is a prime example where government is hurting us as a town or city," said Blais in a loud manner. 

The city needs a new shelter because the current one, opened in 1980, is considered by many people to be too small and not an adequate place to provide proper care for the animals.

Mayor Kevin Dumas wrote in  that he would make a request during the 2012-13 fiscal year to borrow money to fund the project.

The council's capital improvements committee voted Tuesday in favor of spending $50,000 to design the shelter. The full council will vote next week. The firm selected to create the design is Connecticut-based Design Learned, which specializes in animal facility engineering.

Jacobi told the council that if all goes well, the new facility could open next summer.

Briana Auclair June 13, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Why spend a million dollars when we could gather our community and build a new one with volunteers and donations? I'd be willing to grab a hammer and head on down there in the name of this cause. Contractors, construction teams and donors could have some sort of advertisement/signage stating that the facility was constructed with their help. It could be a quarter to half the cost and we could all say we had a hand in helping those lovely little pooches and kitties. Back in the day when someone needed a new barn, they didn't need thousands of dollars, they just needed their neighbors. What ever happened to that? This is our city, if we don't nurture, love and enhance it- who will?! Extreme Makeover can do it- why can't we?
Kim Penque June 13, 2012 at 04:19 PM
The city’s population has grown drastically over the past 32 years. The current Shelter has outgrown the needs as it stands today and can’t serve the needs of the future! Most days you can open The Sun Chronicle or log on to various websites or Social networking sites and read about what goes on at the Attleboro Animal Shelter – we are a Community embraced by responsible pet owners, dedicated Animal Control Officers and Volunteers! When the public walks into the Shelter they walk into a room that is 21X8 – this room serves as the Animal Control Office, the Cat room that houses 16 cats up for Adoption and the only area available to the public. Next, we enter into the Dog area of the Shelter and you will see 12 Dog Kennels filled with Dogs spending their days in a 4X4 inside Kennel adjacent to an outside portion of their kennel which is 10X4. There is no area for Quarantine, no area for isolation and no means to assist a dog that may have special needs. The only area for the public to spend time with a dog, is outside – whether it is snowing, raining or hot, outside is the only place the public can meet their potential new dog. The stress level is high, the environment is outdated and we are beyond capacity! Towards the back of the Shelter we have a multi-purpose room which serves as a Quarantine area for up to 4 cats, our Washer and Dryer room and a Facilities room along with storage. You may think I just described a large room, but sadly it is only 8X8.
Kim Penque June 13, 2012 at 04:33 PM
It is so exciting to see the City Councilors and the Mayor behind this effort! Friends of Attleboro Animal Shelter is doing everything we can to make this dream a reality and having the support of the community is wonderful! So you want to get involved and want to make a difference - stop by and get involved! Instead of falling off our chairs, get on your feet, get involved and let's make this happen! The animals in Attleboro deserve this - the community deserves this and together we will achieve this!
Steve Hopkins June 13, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Kim - perhaps other area shelters 'screwed' themselve when theycontracted to have shelter built Briana - you have the right idea. The town should pay for materials but labor could be by volunteers. Free advertising for local contractors. Likely several skilled trades people who are out of work who would volunteer. Let's raise the barn!!!
Steve Hopkins June 13, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Is this structure block, wood frame or spaace frame construction of the shell. We don't have to purchase any land on which to build, do we? Let's re-evaluate the ameneties. Are many hi-end expensive components wher a lesser known brand will provide same service? Are there a great deal of custom components? If so, get rid of them and design with stock items. This shelter should be more in line with a Motel8 than a Hyatt.! Where can one see the plans and mockup?
Animal Lover June 13, 2012 at 06:04 PM
We are lucky to have so many supporters in Attleboro. This is a very true statement. We have dedicated citizen activists, dedicated City Councilors and a dedicated Mayor. We can get this done! While the price is greater than expected, this has been an ongoing concern here in Attleboro for years and has recently reached a critical point. We are not building a Hyatt, or for that matter, even a Motel 8. We are building a homeless shelter for animals. Plain and simple. Before you say that we should all grab our hammers and build, please take a look at the pictures attached to this article. The shelter is in horrible condition. Absolutely disgusting. In the decades in which it has been in exisstance, no one has shown up with a hammer offering to repair the facitity. Just look at the pics, there is pleanty to do. And if you do genuinely want to help, please come on down. All are welcome. We are turning back no one's help. So, I agree with all of the comments above. 1) We desperately need this new shelter built and soon. 2) If in the meantime you look at the pictures and find a project to do, just call ahead and come on down with the supplies. We'd love any extra volunteers!
Gretchen Robinson June 13, 2012 at 07:50 PM
I was active years many ago when the windows of the old shelter were boarded up and the dogs stayed in the dark. Vandals got in and took dogs. It was awful. The City needs a modern, attractive shelter, where prospective adoptive people can have a space to interact with an animal. I think the City should find the money, hire a contractor and get the job done. It's all very well to be enthusiastic now but ask Habitat for Humanity how hard it is to marshal a team of volunteers and ensure continuity and progress of the building. Volunteers get tired, burned out, and drop out. And then what? Contractors want to do the job from scratch. In any case it takes professionals to do this kind of job. Let them do it and get a contract that says it will be done. If a volunteer messes up and the plumbing leaks, there's no one to sue to make it right. The City needs to step up to the plate here. The need for a shelter has been pushed aside repeatedly. So the time is NOW to get the job done. You'll get a better adoption rate if your building is attractive, as many communities with handsome buildings have found out. With a state-of-the-art building, the job of volunteers would be easier and the animals would be better housed. They could do pet education and advocacy. The City isn't so poor that it can't afford to build a shelter....esp. after so many years of waiting and making do with substandard facilities. The time is Now!!
Andrea Holden June 13, 2012 at 08:24 PM
I know new always seems better (or maybe there's a particular reason) but is there something in the city currently that can provide more suitable space for the needs? What about the vacant store fronts/buildings on Union Street near police and fire, are they in terrible condition and unusable? I'm sure something can be found rather than building new sicne the cost appears to be so high. I've also thought of contacting the shelter and volunteering, the only exceptional skill I have is drawing and painting other than being a body and an extra set of hands. I plan to volunteer my time and help with supplies and see what can be donated. I have 2 shelter cats and just added a homeless 1 yr old a month ago, i love my boys. xoxo
Kim Penque June 13, 2012 at 08:27 PM
The Design is not done yet, hence the approval for the 50k to Designed Learned to design the Shelter. Building an animal Shelter is not something anyone can take on - we are talking about designing and building a shelter with animal behavior in mind, disease control, etc. so it takes a team of professionals to get this job done properly. Design Learned is the firm that was chosen to take on this task - they are focussed on Animal Shelters, Veterinary and Rescue designs. We are not building a Motel 8 or the Hyatt we are building a Shelter that will withstand the needs of Attleboro today and for the future. We are not seeking hi-end expensive components - we are seeking adquete housing for the animals and seeking components that will last for years to come. Apples and Oranges, if I need Open Heart Surgery I am not going to goto my childs Pediatrician....so bring in the experts and get it done properly!
Kim Penque June 13, 2012 at 08:35 PM
If an existing building had to be re-designed to properly house animals I would think the expense would be just as much and in my opinion that is putting a band-aid on the problem. Animal Shelters are not just a building they are fairly complex when done properly. They must be built with many factors in mind such as animal behavior, animal stresses, disease mangment, multiple air supply zones as to not cause cross contamination, special means to remove waste, etc. We cannot just rehab a store front and call this a solutoin. Thank you for adopting - Shelter animals are grateful animals!
Andrea Holden June 13, 2012 at 08:47 PM
@Kim my thought was since your current building is so small and inadequate you could at least take advantage of better space in the meantime and band-aid it until someone can come up with the money to build the optimal environment. Where is this money going to come from, we would need a grant since the shelter couldn't possibly help pay the debt, the city would need to find a way. You could also end up with what you have if no one is willing to compromise. There's no way the city is going to go for a million dollar facility, people just don't think animals are valuable, there is no return in investment. They didn't spend that extent of money on fire or police in Attleboro why would they do it for an animal shelter. I'm sorry to say this but I truly hope you get a new facility but when it comes down to money and investment, return value is always greatest because that's what keeps the city afloat.
Gretchen Robinson June 13, 2012 at 08:59 PM
actually, I'm a very practical, make-do person, with no great love of new just for the sake of having new and shiny. I think Attleboro needs a new facility. The time of the barn-raising rah-rah spirit is over. Attleboro also needs to commit to animals needing care because; the shelter has been a low priority for the City overall--for decades. The two go together in my mind. There's finally a critical mass of animal advocates here. It's been a long time coming. Out of respect for the volunteers who would run it, they need a place that helps with adoptions. I have two cats now. I had three and got two of them from the Seekonk Shelter which was tiny and crowded. I've had animals all my married life (48 years) and seen many shelters. Communities need to live up to their responsibilities to take care of homeless animals. I know the economy is bad--but it's time. People can find money --when they want to.
Shee G June 14, 2012 at 05:29 PM
I know the economy is bad--but it's time. People can find money --when they want to. >>> I Agree, just wish it was so for the Humans who are homeless, for economic reasons/etc. May we pray for what needs to be done for the innocent animals among us all! The more we all can do the better the appreciation will be felt by many! Even the barn-raising effort mentality/offerings! Blessings!

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