KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Friday was a big day for KC Pet Project as they move into their new $26 million home.

It’s located at Gregory Boulevard and Elmwood in Swope Park, and is the first animal shelter built from the ground up for pets. It sits near the KC Zoo and Starlight Theatre.

Officials there say this new building will be a game changer.

The new facility will give them 54,000 square feet of space, which is three times the amount they had before. It includes a vet clinic, education pavilion, and a cafe. It will also include a retail pet supply store.

Also, aside from cats and dogs being separated, there is an outdoor walkway and 14 play group areas.

It’s said to be the third largest no-kill, open-admission animal shelter in the United States.

“It’s pristine,” said Suzzanne Frisse, a KC Pet Project foster parent. “I don’t know how to say it, it’s just absolutely gorgeous. Every area of this place has got something that somebody has really thought through.”

On April 4, 2017, Kansas City voters approved a $50 million GO Bond. Part of that money was used to replace the decades-old KC Pet Project animal shelter over on Raytown Road.

“The public supported it really clearly and now we’re delivering this project on time, on budget, and really an amazing kind of temple that shows that we care about our pet," Mayor Quinton Lucas said

According to the city's website, the city would pay about $14 million to build the shelter and a private KC Pet Project fundraising campaign would generate the rest.

“We’re so excited for what the future holds for this campus,” said Tori Fugate, Chief Communications Officer for KC Pet Project. “We couldn’t have done it without the support of both the public and the private sector.”

The city council also voted to turn animal control operations over to the KC Pet Project. So, they have to have offices in the new building, which cost another $2 million.

“Due to inflation of construction costs, it went up another $2 million,” Fugate noted.

Due to the initial cost plus the cost of inflation, the total cost for the city ended up at $18 million.

According to Fugate, they raised the other portion of the money through private donors, although they had to work with banks to get them to the final point of construction.

“But, we have a plan to pay off that loan and it should be done within the next year or two," she said. 

Workers began moving all of the dogs over on Friday. On Saturday, they said they’ll move all of the cats. However, they also said all the forecasted rain we may get could hamper that.

Either way, Fugate said they’ll be ready to go at the new location on New Year’s Day. The grand opening, however, is set for Jan. 24.

“The public support has been incredibly generous in this project," Fugate said. “It’s a historic day not only for Kansas City’s pets but also for Kansas City residents."  

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