Iowa City Animal Shelter Hits Big Snag

By Mark Carlson, Reporter

IOWA CITY, Iowa - City officials will likely be heading back to the drawing board to scale back an animal shelter project that's been in the works for years.

The move comes because the city can't find a construction company willing to build the proposed facility at the rate they're willing to pay. Architects estimated the project would cost about $2.7 million. Last week the city received nine bids from companies interested in taking on the project. The lowest bidder, City Construction Group LC, set their price at nearly $3.7 million, exceeding the architects estimate by over 35 percent.

"Staff recommends that the project be rebid with existing plans and specifications and an addenda reducing the scope of the project," a city memo to council members stated.

Captain Jim Steffen of the Iowa City Police Department said he was surprised the bids were so off. City animal services is a part of the police department, so police are heavily vested in the project, Steffen said.

"It is a setback, we're looking at ways we can make some cuts," he said. "We're making some cuts that will have the least impact on the people who work there and the animals."

Currently the Animal Care and Adoption Center is working out of a temporary facility on the southern edge of Iowa City. It moved there after the 2008 flood destroyed the old facility near the north wastewater treatment plant.

The city council is expected to reject all the bids for the project so city staff can begin revising the plan.
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