Construction on Louisville's new $12 million animal shelter nearing completion

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Construction on Louisville’s new $12 million animal shelter is almost finished.

Louisville Metro Animal Services Director Ozzy Gibson said the facility could be ready to move in by the end of July or beginning of August.

“They’re putting the doors up,” Gibson said as he walked through the construction zone. “They’re wrapping up all the electric, the IT stuff.”

Five months ago, the 33,000-square-foot warehouse was all cement floors and metal framing. Now, the walls are up, and some are even painted. The next big part of the project will be to install the special flooring. It will be virtually indestructible, Gibson said, and seamless so as to make it easier to keep clean and sterilized.

“They’ll start at the tail end of the building with the kennels,” Gibson said of the flooring process. “Then once we get through the kennels and move on out, they’ll start putting the kennels together.”

It’s about a month-long process to install the floor.

With an added 8,000 square feet compared to the old facility off Manslick Road, the new shelter is built with rooms for things they’ve never had before, including an expansive surgery center with its own X-ray machine.

“LMAS has never had one,” Gibson said. “We have to farm all of that out.”

LMAS secured a grant to cover the cost of the equipment, which means the donations raised for that X-ray machine will now be invested in an ultrasound machine.

“That way, we can do everything here in this building possible to save more pets,” Gibson said.

Without having any of that equipment, shelter staff has to take time to transport the injured animal to a veterinarian, wait to get the results and then bring the animal back to the shelter. Gibson said having this equipment in house will help cut down costs.

“By bringing them in here, if we can treat them here with my staff, that definitely saves taxpayers’ dollars,” he said.

Another bonus with the new building is the extra clinic space built up front with exam rooms and surgery space, separate from what LMAS will be using. Shelter leaders and local animal activists are still brainstorming how best to utilize this space, but it could potentially turn into a low- or no-cost community clinic for spay and neuter or microchip surgeries.

“That is what every person who has built a shelter in the last five years wishes they’d have done,” Gibson said, adding that he researched several animal shelters across the country to come up with the LMAS plans.

And whatever group takes over the extra clinic, it could bring in extra revenue for LMAS.

“We’re in a tough budget year,” Gibson said. “And we need to do all we can. You know, if there’s a way we can generate revenue, we need to do it. We may lease that out to somebody, a vet.”

Gibson intends to focus on moving his staff and the animals into the new shelter first and then figure out what to do with the extra clinic space once everyone is settled.

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