New shelter reaches milestone

Crews lift final beam into place

TOPPING OFF Crews from XL Construction place the final beam of the new county animal shelter during a ceremony in San Martin on Nov. 22. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

A new animal shelter campus under construction in San Martin reached a major milestone Nov. 22, when crews placed the structure’s final steel beam.

Santa Clara County officials held a “topping off” ceremony to mark the occasion.

The new animal shelter campus is being constructed at the County Center, 90 Highland Ave. in San Martin. The project, constructed by Milpitas-based XL Construction, includes a one-story building, parking, livestock barn and pastures, and dog play yards spanning approximately 4.5 acres. 

The 37,000-square-foot one-story building would house functions such as the adoption area, animal holding and housing areas (including free roam cat condo rooms), spay and neuter clinic, veterinary medicine and support areas, administrative areas, and a community multi-use center.

Animal Shelter Program Manager Lisa Jenkins said the completion of the structure now allows crews to work on interior infrastructure such as wiring and plumbing. Project superintendent Casey Grossen said the 50-person crew hopes to have the structure fully enclosed before the winter rains hit.

Work is expected to be complete in spring 2021.

The existing county animal shelter is located at 12370 Murphy Ave. in a 1930s-era structure that was retrofitted in the 1970s to house a shelter.

Over the years, the shelter, which serves 4,000 animals annually, has expanded into modulars on site, but has vastly outgrown the facility, said county supervisor Mike Wasserman.

Still, the shelter has a 94.3 percent live release rate, one of the best in the state for an all intake facility, he added, giving credit to the shelter’s staff and volunteers.

“Look at what they did with what they have,” he said. “Think about what they can do with what they will have.”

Wasserman said the estimated $35 million cost of the project is being “98 percent” funded by the county, and said donations are needed to complete the project.

For information, visit aplace4animals.com.

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