The organization broke ground on the new facility a week ago today with a ceremony that included the traditional shoveling of the first dirt by SPCA staff, dignitaries and a Jack Russell terrier named Scooby.
Currently located in the shadow of U.S. Highway 395 at Fourth Street and Wells Avenue, the local SPCA will have roughly triple its current capacity when the new building opens, executive director Tom Jacobs said. The no-kill animal rescue can currently house about 25 dogs and 30 cats in about 5,000 square feet. The new building will have about 17,000 square feet as well as upgraded facilities and equipment, he said.
“This is really a new era for the SPCA of Northern Nevada,” Jacobs said at last week’s groundbreaking.
With an increased number of animals entering the shelter comes additional need for sanitation and the new SPCA building will have that, Jacobs said. A new HVAC system will provide more appropriate air circulation for removing airborne diseases. It will run 15 cycles an hour as opposed to the typical four or five times an hour, he said. The new building will also have a built-in power cleaning system for spraying down kennels. Right now, Jacobs said, employees and volunteers clean cages with a garden hose but the new system will include chemicals to kill germs.
Kennels for dogs will be larger at the new building with indoor and outdoor sections, as opposed to being just all indoor. The new pens will also have glass doors to improve visitors’ ability to see the animals and cut down on the “kennel feeling,” Jacobs said. Cats will also have more space to roam and sleep.
Improved medical equipment will also be part of the new building, Jacobs said, including X-ray machines and other lab equipment. Animals are currently cared for by one veterinarian who visits twice a week. When the new building opens Jacobs said he hopes that amount of time will increase. The new building will also require the hiring of about three new staff members to add to the seven currently employed.
Finally, Jacobs said he hopes to receive a grant to install energy-efficient equipment at the new shelter. With about $300,000 he hopes to receive from NV Energy, he wants to install solar panels that should produce all the energy used by the shelter. Natural and cost-effective lighting is also part of the plans.
The $4 million project will be paid for using a donation made by local animal activist and businessman Stanley James Walker, who died in 2008 and left $5 million to the SPCA of Northern Nevada.
For the last two years, Jacobs and the SPCA board have been working on plans and a location for the facility before finally acquiring the roughly four acres of land near the Washoe County Jail. The new shelter will be named after Walker.
The project, which is anticipated to be completed in six or seven months, will be designed by Carlin Williams Architects and built by Pinecrest Construction and Development.
The SPCA of Northern Nevada is a no-kill animal shelter and is not affiliated with the national Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. For more information, visit www.spcanevada.org.