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$22 Million Animal Services Center in Auburn Moves Forward

The Placer County Board of Supervisors awarded a design-build contract on Tuesday that paves the way for construction of a long-planned Animal Services Center in North Auburn that will serve domestic and farm animals as well as exotic species.

The current animal shelter is more than 40 years old and has limited capacity, insufficient facilities and is not ADA compliant.  The new center will be built near the existing shelter at the Placer County Government Center, a North Auburn site commonly known as the DeWitt Center.

Board members voted unanimously to award an $18 million contract to a team comprised of Unger Construction and Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects. The team was the highest rated design-build group from three teams that submitted final designs, project schedules and cost projections.

Construction of the 36,657-square-foot center is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2015 and is expected to be completed by the fall of 2016.

The total cost of the project is projected to be $22.1 million.  Responding to inquiries, county staff expects the facility to house over 150,000 animals over its 50-year life, at a cost of $179 per animal.

Responding to questions from the board Tuesday, staff noted that the projected construction cost of $489 per square foot is lower than the $501 per square foot spent by Sacramento County and the $490 per square foot spent by the Town of Truckee on their new shelters.
Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery noted that on a daily basis the new center will accommodate 80 percent more dogs and 75 percent more cats than the existing shelter in North Auburn. The center also will have more than twice the capacity to accommodate displaced animals during wildfires and other emergencies.

Wesley Nicks, Director of  Environmental Health, Public Health and Animal Services, emphasized that staff expects animal adoptions to increase substantially once the new center  is built, saying that other agencies with similar shelters report their adoptions jumped by as much as 83 percent.

Supervisor Kirk Uhler noted that while the state requires counties to provide animal services, it does not provide funding to cover those mandated costs. He said the project approved by the board has a cost-competitive design that will help keep operating and maintenance costs relatively low.   
"We tried to pull out as much of the cost as we possibly could," added board Chairman Jack Duran. 

County Capital Improvements Manager Rob Unholz told the board that the Facility Services Department reduced projected construction costs by more than $475,000 during contract negotiations and expects additional cost reductions in later phases of the process.

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