SteelMaster Building in The Statesman

Virginia Beach, Virginia (PressExposure) November 01, 2011 --

Virginia Beach, VA - Less than a month from now, hundreds of Austin's cats, dogs, iguanas, ferrets and bunnies will be living in spiffy new digs.

Next month, Town Lake Animal Center will transport hundreds of animals from the 50-year-old shelter on West Cesar Chavez Street to the new East Austin facility at 7201 Levander Loop. The new center will open on Nov. 12. And Friends of Town Lake Animal Center - a nonprofit that raises money for the shelter - is celebrating with a party.

The Green Gala will be held Saturday at the new shelter from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $75 each. The event will feature food, music by Hot Club of Cowtown and a silent auction. The event will raise money for veterinary equipment. For more information, go to or email

The new shelter has been years in the making - and getting here hasn't been easy. In the late 2000s, several animal advocacy groups battled furiously to rebuild the shelter at its current location, saying it was more convenient and the new site would deter adoptions. Ultimately, the City Council chose the Levander Loop land, which it already owned. They broke ground in May 2010.

"It's accessible, and it's a truly amazing site," said Lori Galloway, co-chair of the gala committee.

The $12 million campus, funded by city bond money, is certainly an impressive sight.

The Quonset hut-style buildings feature high ceilings, big windows and lots of natural light. The dog kennels are built to reduce sound and have frosted glass to keep the animals from constantly seeing and barking at one another. The new shelter has about 40,000 square feet of indoor space, about 5,000 more than the current facility, said Mindy Vescovo, president of Friends of Town Lake Animal Center.

It has more office space, a veterinary suite and holding areas. A special air filtration system has been installed to prevent the spread of disease.

It also employs sustainable and green-building techniques such as solar panels and rainwater collection.

The new shelter will also increase capacity, Vescovo said. The current location holds 191 cats and 263 dogs. The new Austin Animal Center will be able to house a maximum of 283 cats and 278 dogs. It also has a bunny run, where rabbits can move around.

"In the old place, rabbits just exist in cages," Vescovo said.

Finishing touches are still being put on the campus, which is shared with other city buildings, including offices for the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department. But supporters say they're eager to unveil the new building.

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Press Release Submitted On: November 01, 2011 at 3:23 am
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