Weather Forecast


New Dickinson animal shelter inevitable: City commissioners rebuff $1.2M proposal

Despite some hiccups with the design and price tag, Dickinson is still on track toward getting a new animal shelter.

The Dickinson City Commission saw the $1.2 million price for a proposed facility at its regular Monday meeting at City Hall and, while acknowledging the need for a new shelter, felt a bit of sticker shock. The plan was presented by architect Jan Prchal of Hulsing and Associates.

"We have a project that's now carrying an estimate of nearly $1.2 million and I know on our city budget we're carrying $500,000 for this," Commission President Dennis Johnson said. "I don't think we can build a $1.2 million animal control facility."

Part of the reason the price tag was so high is the high cost of construction in Dickinson, Prchal told the commission.

"I don't feel very good about standing in front of the public and explaining why we should spend $1.2 million on a new animal shelter," Johnson said. "I feel very good about saying the one we have is a poor example of an animal shelter and we can do a lot better, but thought a lot better would be more in the range of $500,000."

The shelter, as proposed Monday, would include kennels for 20 dogs, a separate area for cats, a veterinarian's work space, a whelping (delivery) room for canine expectant mothers, among other features. Because the commission did not like the cost, Prchal did a redesign and cut the 6,000-plus-square-foot building in half.

The 6,000-square-foot building size was determined using population growth estimates and input from Stark County officials, who would also be using the facility, City Administrator Shawn Kessel said Monday.

With the cut, many of the features were removed and the kennels were made smaller, so 14 dogs can be housed in half the space, Prchal said Friday.

The estimate on the redesign wasn't complete Friday, but she did expect the price would be significantly less than $1.2 million.

"We needed to provide durable spaces and a sustainable design so it won't be falling down in 20 years," Prchal said.

The revised plans also moved the shelter from the bailer building campus to the same campus as the new public works building, Prchal said.

The current pound has space for five dogs, Dickinson Police Department Chief Dustin Dassinger said.

"We work really hard to adopt these animals out as soon as we can," he said.

The city will still need to euthanize unadopted animals after a certain amount of time, Kessel said Thursday, but it would like to avoid that if possible.

Oreo's Animal Rescue takes animals from the pound into its foster network, Dr. Kim Brummond of West Dakota Vet said. But it has not been actively involved in the design and planning process with the new shelter.

Kessel said Thursday the city would like to engage Oreo's and Pet Project ND when it comes to running and fundraising for the new shelter, which the city plans to manage with the help of volunteers.

The city would also raise funds for the shelter, as well as pulling from the city's budget, he said.

"That's always been part of the plan, is to do a public-private partnership," Kessel said. "We do have some people who have already indicated that they would donate to the construction of a new animal shelter."

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
(701) 456-1206