Collier’s New $ 6 Million Animal Shelter to Include Improved Facilities
Design for a new pet shelter in Collier County is underway after commissioners agreed to a contract with a Fort Myers-based architectural firm.
In mid-October, the commissioners signed a contract with ADG Architecture in the amount of $ 578,508 to draw up plans for a one-story building of up to 25,000 square feet, according to county documents. The total estimated cost is nearly $ 6 million, which includes design and construction.
The money for the new shelter comes from the one-cent surcharge approved by constituents in the county.
The building is planned for the City Gate area near the Paradise Coast Sports Complex north of Interstate 75 and east of Collier Blvd on county-owned land.
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Ed Finn, the county’s director of facilities management, said the new building will provide DAS with state-of-the-art equipment.
“There will be an improved animal adoption area, an appropriate capacity to properly separate animals,” Finn said. “The facility will include a state-of-the-art clinical area and appropriate outdoor exercise areas for animals. It will also be air conditioned and air conditioned.
DAS’s current shelter, built in 1997, relied on ventilation rather than air conditioning, Finn said.
The County Surcharge Oversight Committee approved $ 6 million to fund the new animal shelter on March 6, 2019. In December 2020, the Collier Commissioners approved an initial roster of potential consultants and asked County staff to ” start negotiations with ADG Architecture.
ADG’s responsibilities under the county contract include architectural, engineering and mechanical design as well as surveying and post-design services, according to county documents.
Commissioner Penny Taylor said that as the county’s population grows, so do the number of animals and pets.
“It will be a better situation for the animals out there in general,” Taylor said. “There are volunteers who work very hard (at DAS). The new facility will give the residents of Collier a greater sense of security as animals taken off the streets for whatever reason are cared for in a state-of-the-art facility and in a caring manner. “
A kickoff meeting for the design phase was held on Monday, Taylor said.
The design phase will take about a year and construction will take 2 to 2.5 years, Finn said. The building will likely be completed in mid-2024.
Jim Rich, chairman of the DAS advisory board and vice chairman of the nonprofit animal welfare group For the Love of Cats, said the idea behind the new building is to keep up with the county’s growing population and provide more amenities.
“At the end of the day, you’re still dealing with the old electrical system and no air conditioning (in the current installation),” Rich said. “We spent a fortune every year on temporary air conditioning. We are also looking for the capacity and the future to meet the needs of the county.
What will happen to the old DAS installation?
There are discussions on the conservation of the current building as well as the new facility to meet the demand, he said.
Finn said it is still too early to know what will happen to the old facility once the new one is operational.
Debbie Lanham, of For the Love of Cats, said the new DAS facility would be of great help.
“We are very involved and use them a lot. We’re kind of an extension (of DAS), ”Lanham said.
For the Love of Cats is going into the community to trap and bring in feral cats to help address the overpopulation issue in the county, she said.
Members of the organization bring wild cats to DAS or other veterinary clinics to be spayed or neutered before releasing them outside.
For the Love of Cats will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year and has expanded to the community, including a biology scholarship at Florida Gulf Coast University, Lanham said.
DAS is the county’s only open-admission public animal shelter that accepts stray animals, returns lost animals, offers adoption services and works to end animal overpopulation, its website says.
The shelter welcomed 374 animals in October, the majority of which were stray cats, according to county records. During the same month, DAS had 281 outgoing animals, most of which were adopted, leaving the shelter with a total of 529 animals still in breeding. So far this year, the shelter has welcomed around 3,750 animals, an average of around 347 animals each month.
DAS offers adoption discounts for senior citizens and serving and retired military personnel as well as half-price adoptions for older pets.
DAS volunteers give over 16,000 hours per year walking dogs, socializing cats and participating in offsite events. Those interested in volunteering can find out more on the service’s website.
Its current location is at 7610 Davis Blvd. in Naples and can be contacted online at collierpets.com or by phone at 239-252-7387.