Tyler moves forward with purchase of property for animal care facility

Tyler moves forward with purchase of property for animal care facility
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 5:30pm

The City of Tyler has announced its plan to move forward with the purchase of property at 4218 Chandler Highway for the purposes of opening a city-owned and operated animal care facility. On Nov. 15, the City entered into a sales contract for $550,000 for the 10 acres and existing buildings on the property to be used for the facility. The sales contract allowed the City 30 days to evaluate the property, which was originally a commercial facility used for manufacturing.

During this 30-day window, the City began the process of determining the costs of renovation to prepare the structures for this new purpose.

“While firm opinions of probable costs are not in yet, the renovation of the building is estimated to cost in the range of $180 per square foot, versus approximately $240 per square foot for a new building,” said City Engineer Carter Delleney.

Freese and Nichols Inc. (in collaboration with Design Learned, Inc.), a professional architectural and engineering firm, was contracted to execute a programing and schematic design to determine preliminary costs, the needs of the facility, and how the building and grounds would function. After two intensive days on the ground in Tyler examining the building and visiting with a number of stakeholders, the City's architects deemed the building a solid fit for use as an animal care facility.

“The architects on the project believe that the building is highly suitable for use as an animal care facility due to its sound structure, existing layout, location, a fire sprinkler system already in place, and room to accommodate future phasing according to an overall plan,” added McDaniel. “One of those future phases might also be a dog park on surrounding grounds that includes a water feature, wooded area and open space.”

The City is scheduled to close on the building by Dec. 23, after which a second contract for architectural services will be executed to develop renovation drawings and plans prior to hiring a general contractor. A renovation/construction timeline will be developed as part of this next stage of architectural services.

McDaniel explained that the project is likely to be done in phases due to the need to manage initial costs within a budget, and that the building lends itself to future phasing given its layout and the significant room to expand as new partners join in. The City remains in discussions with Tyler Junior College (TJC) about a new Vet Tech program at the facility in collaboration with the City.

“A Veterinary Tech training program is one of the top needs for this region and has been on our ‘to-do’ list for over a year,” said TJC President Mike Metke. “The job demand, pay, placement and projected need are all very strong. We’ve just needed a good training partner and the right facility to move forward, so we are excited about the City’s plans. We appreciate being included in the planning and would look forward to working closely with the City and any other groups that help serve these needs.”

“Moving forward, we are interested in providing a full complement of services on a regional basis over a phased period out of this facility,” said McDaniel.


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