Evanston alders are scheduled to vote Monday on a $6.8 million contract to demolish the city’s half-century old animal shelter and build a new larger one.

The low bid on the project, from CCC Holdings of Tinley Park, is $1.5 million over what the city had projected as the construction cost two years ago, but city staff say it is within the range of estimated construction cost inflation since then.

The city received ten bids for the project. Other ranged from $7.1 million to $9.8 million

Cook County has awarded the city a $2 million grant to help fund the shelter, contingent on having the new building substantially completed by Nov. 30. And the Evanston Animal Shelter Association has pledged to raise $1.025 million toward the project cost.

The Evanston Animal Shelter, 2310 Oakton St. (Google Maps)

The existing shelter, at 2,800 square feet, has been considered cramped and inadequate for the city’s needs for years. And city staff reported as long ago as 2017 that the HVAC system was failing and couldn’t be replaced without a substantial expansion of the building.

That, in turn, staff said, would trigger a requirement to update the building to meet current codes.

The planned new building would have 8,850 square feet of space.

A site plan for the new shelter. The entry will be on the east side of the building and the parking lot will be reconfigured so its entrance aligns with an existing traffic signals.

City staff say they hope Cook County will agree to an $850,000 increase in its support for the project, but action by the county board on that request is unlikely for two to three months and the current construction bids expire March 25.

If the additional funds from the county don’t come through, the city would have to cover the full $1.5 million cost increase, which staff says could be taken from the general fund cash balance.

Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) has repeatedly objected to the cost of the shelter project, but the City Council as a whole has repeatedly voted to move forward with various preliminary steps toward construction of the new shelter.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. If you want the animal shelter you have to frame it in terms of equity. Always play the trump card !

  2. I am very hopeful this shelter will be voted in and built. There are so many things we feel empathy for, and can do little about. But innocent animals, often treated brutally by their owners or left to fend for themselves or die terrible deaths, can be comforted, cared for, and hopefully adopted. So many skilled and loving people and medical professionals give freely, volunteer, and make this world a better place for the abused or lost creatures in our midst. They need a safe place, and a proper facility, to continue their work. I, for one, admire and appreciate them greatly. I ask our council to vote a big, heartfelt yes to the new shelter.

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