To the relief of the Visalia City Council, and Visalia’s animal lovers, a contract has finally been approved to build the new Animal Control Facility. During their April 7th meeting, the Visalia City Council voted 5-0 to accept Forcum/Mackey Construction, Inc.’s unexpectedly low bid of $4,550,000. According to the Visalia Times-Delta, Mayor Steve Nelsen said, “We’re doing cartwheels because our earlier estimates said it would cost us $5 million to $5.5 million.” Groundbreaking will be in May and the firm has twelve months to complete the project. The city council started working on the new Animal Control Facility (ACF) back in 2006.
The new facility will have twice as many kennels and house approximately 9,000 animals a year. The number of animals will actually decrease because Visalia Animal Control will only be handling animals from Visalia and Dinuba, not Exeter and Tulare as they had been doing in years past.
Although nine firms submitted bids, some from outside the Central Valley, Forcum/Mackey, from Ivanhoe, submitted the lowest bid that covered all the construction requirements. The project is being financed primarily from a 15-year, $6.6 million loan from Citizens Business Bank via Municipal Finance Corporation. The loan is being repaid by the General Fund in annual installments.
The Visalia Animal Care Facility will be 17,000 square feet on approximately 3.9 acres.
This project is being constructed to meet the animal care needs of the city and provide an improved level of public safety. The ACF will be a “state-of -the-art” facility focusing on not only efficient operational management and maintenance, but all facets of health and welfare of animals through both traditional animal control, and the services provided by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
The total amount of money appropriated to this project is $7,350,000. Besides the construction of the facility the design costs so far have been approximately $700,000.
The current Animal Control Facility is located by the Visalia Municipal Airport off of Highway 99. According to Mario Cifuentez, head coordinator of the project for the city, “The new building is being built immediately adjacent to the north. Once the new facility is completed, two of the existing kennels will be retained for overflow and the remainder of the existing facility will be demolished.” The old facility, built in 1968, houses both Animal Control & Animal Shelter staff. The building is able to hold 115 dogs and 200 cats at one time, and is the major holding facility for lost or stray pets in Visalia and other surrounding cities.
The City of Visalia contracts its services for sheltering and animal control to Valley Oak SPCA. Their goal is to insure public health, safety and animal welfare in our community.