The following is a story by the Foothills Sentry newspaper, a Voice of OC media partner covering Orange, Villa Park, Orange Park Acres, Anaheim Hills, North Tustin, Silverado Canyon, and Modjeska Canyon.

This story was published in the Sentry’s May 2016 edition.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors selected a designer-builder and took other actions, April 12, to begin construction on a new Orange County animal shelter this July. The facility will be built on 10 acres of land at the site of the former Tustin Marine Base.

Supervisors awarded a contract to Snyder Langston LP for design and construction, which is expected to cost up to $32.8 million. Additional costs for roadway improvements, utilities and other upgrades will boost the project to $35 million. The county’s contribution consists of the land and $5 million, with the remainder covered by cities that contract for animal care services.

The new shelter will be built on leased land currently owned by the South Orange County Community College District. The property will eventually be swapped for land at the base that hasn’t yet been released to the county by the Navy, which still owns the property. A lease with the college district was approved Tuesday.

Supervisor Todd Spitzer, whose district includes the former Marine base, praised the creation of a formal advisory board that will include representatives from rescue groups, and others, to provide input into the facility’s design. The Design Advisory Board will advise OC Animal Care and OC Public Works, and will consist of representatives from contract cities, rescue groups, the shelter’s Community Outreach Committee, Animal Care staff and the veterinary field. Public forums are planned to obtain community input on the work of the design board and the contractor.

The current Orange County Animal Shelter in Orange was built in 1941. The county set aside $5 million in 1995 to build a new shelter at the base, which closed in 1999. However, the land the county originally envisioned for the shelter won’t be released by the Navy until at least 2017.

Cities will have until the end of May to approve revised participation agreements with the county for use of the new shelter. Third District cities currently contracting with the county are Anaheim, Orange, Tustin, Villa Park, and Yorba Linda.

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