Less is more in design theory, and, though that may be less true when it comes to animal shelters, Guilford County officials are now assuring the public that – while a new Guilford County Animal Shelter will not be as large as originally planned – it will still be a terrific home and adoption facility for the animals.
On Monday, June 17, Guilford County staff as well as Guilford County commissioners offered assurances that the new shelter would meet the county’s needs.
At the afternoon meeting in the Blue Room of the Old Guilford County Court House, Guilford County Facilities Director Dan Durham said that, originally, the new shelter was going to have 37,482 square feet of space and a capacity of 407 animals. However, that planned facility, he added, came in several million dollars over the $14.8-million budget that was approved for the project – so a revised design, after cost-cutting measures, now calls for just over 29,700 square feet of space with a capacity of 333 animals.
“So that reduced by almost 29 percent the square footage in the facility,” Durham told the commissioners at the June 17 work session.
Guilford County Animal Services Director Jorge Ortega said that the new facility would still be able to house educational programs for the county’s pet owners and it would meet the county’s needs. He said some of the space lost would have been nice to have but wasn’t essential in the end.
“The lobby was a very large lobby,” he said, “so we lost that lobby space.”
Ortega said some surgery and cage space would be lost as well, and the revised shelter plans, he said, only call for two of three planned animal adoption kennels.
Ortega said that, despite having room for 70 fewer animals than in the original plan, the new shelter would meet the county’s needs.
Commissioner Justin Conrad said he wanted to make sure the public was aware that the new shelter would be a very inviting place that would result in more traffic coming into it. Conrad said it will be designed to “get the animals out” through more rapid adoptions, and he added that, while smaller, it would be an excellent facility that would do the job.
Ortega said he was comfortable with the smaller size and he said that the shelter’s animal foster program – which currently includes about 100 animals – would have to stay active.
He also pointed out that the new building was being designed in a way that made future expansion easy to accommodate.