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City seeks LEED certification for shelter

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer

The Denton City Council agreed this week to issue $200,000 more in certificates of obligation to pay for LEED certification of the new animal shelter.

While the council authorized up to $200,000 in expenses, the “green” construction measures and ratings evaluation are expected to cost about $140,000, Mayor Pro Tem Pete Kamp said.

During a special call meeting Tuesday evening, Kamp told the council that LEED certification had been part of the original plans for the new animal shelter, which involved a major capital campaign in the community.

The Denton Animal Shelter Foundation raised $2 million toward the $4.9 million project.

Kamp told the council that she didn’t realize that certification was dropped as part of cost-cutting measures made between the initial estimates for constructing the building and the city’s contracting with the architect.

In an interview Wednesday, Kamp said that she also sent a letter to the foundation leadership explaining what had happened.

City leaders hold sustainable building practices as a goal, she said.

“This council and past councils expressed the desire for sustainable building, and that we should set an example with municipal buildings,” Kamp said.

The city’s Fire Station No. 7, opened in 2007, received “gold” certification, the first fire station in Texas and the second in the nation to achieve that rating.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a building program of the U.S. Green Building Council.

The trade group promotes sustainable building practices and rates buildings for their ability to conserve energy and water, be healthier and safer for occupants, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce landfill waste.

In addition, the upfront expense should help the city save money operating the animal shelter in future years, Kamp said. A 2003 California study found that an investment of 2 percent of the construction budget in “green” construction measures, up front, often returns the investment tenfold over the life of the building.

Construction documents for the new, 16,000-square-foot shelter should go out early next year, according to Denton police Capt. Scott Fletcher.

The new building will have 117 kennels for cats and 115 kennels for dogs. Cats that get along with other cats will be in two colony rooms that open to a sunroom. Dogs will also have a play yard.

Municipal shelters have been moving toward these features in recent years as they encourage adoptions, shelter officials say, because people can better evaluate animals when they can interact with them in more natural settings.

Currently, the city ranks fifth on the leader board of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ $100,000 Rachael Ray Challenge. Volunteers helped increase the city’s animal adoptions in the past year.

Winners of the challenge, which awards a $100,000 grand prize and a $25,000 community engagement prize, are expected to be announced Nov. 30.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881. Her e-mail address is .