A close to $10 million expansion project is underway for the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter.
The no-kill shelter, which has been open since 2007, received funds from four area cities as well as Williamson County. Cedar Park, Hutto, Leander and Round Rock all budgeted funds for renovation of the animal shelter’s existing building and construction of a new structure.
Cheryl Schneider, director of animal services for the shelter, said the existing shelter does not have room for the number of animals in the county.
“We have animals in every closet,” Schneider said. “We have them in bathrooms; we have changed hallways into animal care areas— just trying to keep up with the intake.”
Schneider said the shelter has been at capacity since it opened and the growth of the Georgetown area, where the shelter is located, has had an effect on the numbers.
“With population growth, so goes the growth or the intake of animals. The numbers go up,” Schneider said.
The expansion project has been a three yearlong process up to this point, Schneider said.
Williamson County Commissioner Valerie Covey is a member of the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter board and said it wants to ensure it is planning for the future.
“The shelter was undersized when it opened,” Covey said. “With the continued growth of Williamson County, it is vital that additional kennel space be made available.”
More than $6 million of the funding will go toward construction of a new building.
As it stands, the 15,000-square-foot shelter holds 85 dog and 93 cat kennels. Upon completion of the plan, the new shelter will total more than 36,000 square feet and include space for 170 dog and 186 cat kennels, according to Schneider.
She also said renovating the existing structure of the shelter is another key piece of the expansion deal and will cost more than $1 million.
“The building is not functional,” Schneider said. “We don’t have a kitten room to separate kittens from adults, [same with] puppies from adults. The dog kennels all need to be renovated. All of that is included in the expansions.”
Schneider said in addition to adding more kennels, the existing kennels drainage system and air conditioning units need to be addressed as well as the shelter's surgery center space.
The shelter must remain functioning throughout the process, so the expansion and renovation will be done in two phases Schneider said.
“We are going to build the new building first and then move the animals over there and then renovate [the existing structure],” Schneider said.
Schneider said the shelter is planning on breaking ground for the 1 1/2 yearlong process in March 2017, the same month as its 10-year anniversary.
Correction: The story has been updated to reflect correct construction and renovation costs and kennel numbers.