Published January 23rd, 2020 at 6:00 AM
Animal lovers rejoice!
Just down the street from the Kansas City Zoo and Starlight Theatre, a $26 million state-of-the-art animal shelter has opened its doors. The Kansas City Campus for Animal Care is hosting its official grand opening and ribbon cutting this Friday, Jan. 24, at 10 a.m.
Everyone is invited.
The 54,000-square-foot animal welfare facility boasts a campus-like vibe that is expected to attract thousands of visitors annually. Natural lighting, stimulating recreational spaces, and heating and air-conditioning systems designed to reduce disease and odor are just a few of the amenities in a facility housing hundreds of animals.
In addition to providing comfortable living space for the animals, the campus also includes an education pavilion where visitors can take classes on proper pet training. There are also several walking trails, a fully equipped retail store and a Roasterie Café.
“We have a coffee shop and will eventually have snacks and sodas, so you can come enjoy your time with animals but also take a break and enjoy watching the cats in their free roaming space, through the retail store,” said Tori Fugate, chief communication officer at KC Pet Project.
The facility will be operated by KC Pet Project, an organization responsible for running the third largest no-kill, open-admission animal shelter in the United States.
The new facility at Elmwood Avenue and Gregory Boulevard is a public-private partnership. The campus, which replaces a dilapidated facility at 4400 Raytown Road, was funded through $18 million in voter-approved general obligation bonds as well as private donations.
The new campus has nearly four times the finished space as the old facility. The space also is designed to not only welcome those who are looking to adopt, but also anyone who just wants to visit with the animals and enjoy the ambiance of this modern facility.
With hundreds of options to choose from, visitors are encouraged to use one of the digital kiosks located near the front desk to scan photos and descriptions of animals available for adoption. Staff will then escort visitors to a spacious “meet and greet” room to interact with the pet they have selected.
In addition to the volunteers in blue shirts roaming the campus, full-time staff is also available to assist you.
“We have puzzle feeders and we play soothing background music and have someone to take them out twice a day, as well as keep a full-time staff person to coordinate playgroups for our dogs,” Fugate said.
An outdoor cat patio allows felines to wander and multiple yards give dogs a chance to play outside.
The new facility represents the best practices in animal shelters in the United States. The campus marks a sharp departure from the days of “dog pounds” where many dogs were housed in one cramped space.
“This Friday is going to be a wonderful celebration of the journey we had to get here,” Fugate said. “It’s open to the public and to all our supporters. We will even have a Broadway singer sing a lullaby.”
Flatland contributor Inas Younis is a freelance journalist and commentator.