NORMAN — Demolition began Tuesday on the Denese Miles Pet Adoption Center, 3428 S. Jenkins Ave., to make way for the new Norman animal shelter that was approved by voters in 2011.
“I’m excited,” said Tom Kovach, one of three Norman City Council members who pushed the shelter forward by invoking the “rule of three” to get the measure on the city agenda. “It’s one of those rare situations where it’s really been the people’s deal all along.”
Kovach said animal lovers promoted the ballot measure and got people out to vote. The $3 million project was approved 6,982 votes to 2,223.
“It passed by one of the largest margins we’ve ever had,” Kovach said.
The project will be built in two phases.
Deputy Police Chief Jim Maisano said initial plans were to gut the adoption center and refurbish it, but further investigation revealed that the ductwork needed for a new filtration system would not fit and the rooflines would not have lined up.
“As things progressed, they started realizing it was not going to be cost effective to try to modify the existing material that was there,” Maisano said. “It was more cost effective to basically start with a new slab and expand west toward the impound building.”
While the Denese Miles Pet Adoption Center was the newest portion of the Norman animal welfare facility, it only had 20 dog cages and 20 cat cages. The older, original building has 55 dog cages. Additionally, some of the cat cages in the new facility were on rollers and could be moved to the old facility.
Tearing down the pet adoption center allowed the animal welfare facility to remain operational during construction.
“That will still be the Denese Miles Pet Adoption Center,” Maisano said. “It will just be expanded and improved.”
Dedicated in 2008, the pet adoption center bears the name of animal activist Denese Miles, who died of cancer in 2007.