Flint — For 14 months, the bangs and clangs of construction and the barks and yelps of canines have mixed at the Genesee County Animal Control Shelter (GCAC) on Pasadena Avenue.
Animal control is in the midst of an $8 million project, which includes additions and renovations to the existing facility. The project is coming in two phases. Phase I is complete, which included the new construction.
The overall project is currently 70-percent complete, and weather permitting the entire renovation will be complete by the holidays, said Deputy Director Renea Kennedy.
This is the facility responsible for handling all strays, and when necessary, owner surrenders, for Genesee County — even Fenton and Linden on the opposite end of the county.
Kennedy said the project won’t increase capacity, but will increase living spaces for the animals and provide updated facilities, more outside play room and better cat housing.
She said the animals are calmer in the new expanded living areas. Their
anxiety is much less. We are seeing fewer cases of cage aggression,” Kennedy said.
There are currently 98 dogs and 60 cats at the facility. During the construction they have not reduced the number of animals they help. However, Kennedy said they won’t be taking owner surrenders. Instead, they will assist with re-homing and financial resources.
Kennedy said they have a maximum emergency capacity of 300 animals but ideally, they’d house 136, based on being able to give each animal 15 minutes of time per day.
On Wednesday, crews with contractor Sorensen Gross were working on the future adoptable dogs area. Scaffolds and dangling power cables filled the space as they tore up the floors and ceilings.
The GCAC is still a fully functioning operation, despite plywood doors, construction sounds, and their veterinarians crammed into a small room. “When I say ‘we’re working on it every day,’ that’s no joke,” said Kennedy, walking through the controlled chaos of the facility.
The new facilities
Many areas are brand new and without construction debris. The sleek brushed aluminum entrance is already complete, with new, updated separate intake areas for adoptions and strays (lost and found) in order to keep possible illnesses away from adoptable dogs.
Several animal housing rooms are already complete. The “tall tails” room for larger dogs is done, with new, larger spaces. The “room with a view” combines a larger indoor space, with a door to an outside space. Fenced in, easy-to-clean play areas are also done.
Aside from the new lobby, entrance and administration area, several other areas are completed. The stray dog and cat areas, adoption and isolation wards, some adoption kennels, indoor/outdoor kennels and 10 outdoor play yards are complete, according to Kennedy.
Phase II is under construction, which includes updated adoption wards, a medical suite, grooming and laundry areas and more meet-and-greet rooms for adoptions.
There will even be a photography area and new volunteer training and orientation areas.
This $8-million project is funded by the Genesee County Animal Control millage of 2014.
Reporter Hannah Ball contributed to this article.