Bids open for expansion project at the Great Falls Animal Shelter

The city is accepting bids for the first phase of improvements at the Great Falls Animal Shelter.

Bids are due June 13.

Shelter staff have been working toward these upgrades for years.

In 2013, the City Commission approved a professional services agreement with Nelson Architects for architectural/engineering services. Shelter staff worked with Nelson Architects to develop a master plan for the upgrades.

The project includes a new cattery and canine area expansion, interior office and reception area remodeling, exterior façade renovation, site work and landscaping.

The project has been estimated at $811,670 and shelter staff are hoping the bid process will help staff is those estimates have stayed in the same range over the last four years or if they need to do more fundraising.

Shelter staff set a $400,000 fundraising goal to cover the cattery and other components of the improvement project.

Lynn Formell, shelter director, said they’re closing in on that goal with about $30,000 left to go.

Formell said she’s also pursuing several grants to help cover the cost of the project since their budget is limited. The fiscal year 2017 operating budget was $602,349, according to shelter documents.

The shelter was built in the 1970s and doesn’t have much room to grow beyond the existing footprint, but last year the shelter was approved to by a new $85,000 hydroincinerator that is smaller and more efficient than the one previously in use at the shelter.

The shelter offers cremation services and the new incinerator lowered operating costs by $1.20 per pound and the shelter averages about 32,000 pounds per year, Formell said.

Since the new incinerator is also smaller, it has freed up more space to potentially expand the cattery plans even further.

“We’re trying to maximize our space,” Formell said.

The shelter can currently house about 60 cats and is already full so far this spring. The new cattery will also the shelter to house 76 cats, potentially more, depending on the updated designs. The shelter serves about 800 cats annually, according to the city website.

The cattery addition would allow cats to be transported in and out of the facility without going through the dog kennels. It would also provide separate visitation, isolation, triage and grooming areas for cats.

Want to learn more about the project or donate? Visit the Great Falls Animal Shelter online.