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Fairfax Animal Shelter Undergoing Renovation, Expansion

The county is renovating and expanding the Fairfax County Animal Shelter at 4500 West Ox Road to provide state-of-the-art intake and adoption services for the animals that it cares for each year. The addition section was completed in December 2012, with an estimated completion date for the entire project set for July 2013.

Cole & Denny Incorporated of Alexandria is the architect for this multi-phase $8 million project, which is designed to increase capacity for animal shelter services, as well as providing new community meeting space and offices for Fairfax County’s Animal Control Division. Bacon Group, Inc., of Clearwater, Fla., specialists in animal care facilities, is assisting in the design. Maryland-based Keller Brothers, Inc. is the general contractor.

With energy saving features in mind, this animal shelter is designed for LEED-Silver certification. According to Mike Detomo, the project architect at Cole & Denny, energy savings will include advanced day-lighting systems allowing 75 percent of the building to benefit from natural illumination without artificial lighting; employing reduced-flush lavatories and flow rate adjusters for sinks which provide water consumption savings; 26,800 square feet of white PVC and metal roofing that reduce the building’s heat island effects; a dedicated 122 sq. ft. recycling room and recycling dumpster; additional space for separate animal care and pet adoption services; and employing five 100 percent outside air energy recovery units for kennels meeting ventilation requirements as prescribed by the Humane Society of the United States.

“Animal holding facilities have higher ventilation and volumetric air exchange requirements than typical commercial buildings,” says Detomo. “These air exchange systems will help control airborne viruses, which is especially important with such a large number of pets arriving with no known medical history.”

This upgraded and expanded facility will double total canine capacity and triple feline capacity, and provide additional rooms to care for other small mammals, birds and reptiles. “Renovated space is designed to provide more natural light, and more areas for specialized treatment and visitation,” says Cole & Denny Principal John Cole. “Adding a new adoption lobby is another feature designed to address the shelter’s mission of finding caring homes for as many animals as possible.”

Cole & Denny’s four-phase development plan allows continuation of this busy facility’s existing services throughout the construction period. “We’re renovating 11,000 sq. ft. of existing structure and adding approximately 15,000 sq. ft. of new construction,” Cole adds. “Our ultimate goal is creating a new and appealing environment for staff and the animals in their care, while working with the contractor to maintain a seamless flow of services as renovations proceed.” Maintaining uninterrupted operations during these upgrades is another goal for the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, for each year, more than 7,500 companion animals and other creatures pass through its doors.