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West Jordan Journal

A dog of a summer

Aug 31, 2017 06:16PM ● By Jana Klopsch

The cat rooms were also affected by the AC system failure and were cooled by oscillating fans. (Becca Ketelsleger/City Journals)

By Becca Ketelsleger | [email protected]

For the animals of West Jordan, it’s been a dog of a summer. 

Earlier this year, the cooling system that functioned above the kennel of the West Jordan Animal Shelter failed completely. This area included both the outdoor dog kennels and cat rooms. 

“When it was designed and built, there was an evap(oration) cooler that was installed up in the attic area—that has now failed,” said Jim Riding, the CIP/Facilities Project manager for West Jordan, at the June 14 city council meeting. “It was causing rust in all the metal parts up there. Mold was beginning to grow, and it was leaking,” 

A mechanical engineer was brought in to assess the situation, and it was determined that the whole system would need to be replaced. However, bids came rolling in at around $350,000 for a total rebuild of the evaporation system. 

Eventually, a state-contracted vendor, Trane Building Services, was consulted and supplied an estimate of $98,955 in order to get the cooling system functioning again. 

For that estimated amount, Trane Services would “for lack of a better word, do a Band-Aid on this,” Riding said. This “Band-Aid” would comprised an air handler as well as a condenser unit outside. 

Council members raised several concerns.

 “How much square feet is that building?” asked Mayor Kim Rolfe. “This just seems like an exorbitant amount of money for an air conditioning system.”

Continuing the dissent, Councilman David Newton questioned why the project had not been sent out to bid. 

“When the original bids came back at $350,0000, we said that wasn’t going to work for us right now,” Riding said. “We didn’t have the funding to do it. I had enough money to do this, the $98,000.” 

However, with the highest heats of summer approaching, it was unclear whether the issue could wait for the matter to be sent to bid. While several portable evaporative systems and oscillating fans were brought in to help with keeping the animals comfortable, some were concerned that this would not be enough.  

“Bypassing summer, is this alternative option suitable for the animals?” asked Councilman Adam Anderson. 

Police Chief Doug Diamond replied that it would largely depend on how hot it would get, but he ultimately said that the project could wait and go out to bid. 

In the end, it was decided that the issue be postponed, with only Anderson dissenting. 

The item was put on the city council agenda again for Aug. 9 but with the same price tag from Trane Services that had previously been thought too high.

 “I want our citizens to understand that we, as a city, take the care of our animals very seriously,” Newton stated. “I had some concerns with this recommendation, but I think that we have found out ways to address my concerns.” 

Interim City Manager David Brickey went on to clarify that these concerns were regarding the effectiveness of the “Band-Aid” approach. Once it had been assured that the new equipment would ensure the animals be kept at a comfortable temperature (between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit) with outdoor temperatures between 0 and 100 degrees, the council all felt comfortable approving the ordinance. 

The vote passed with all in favor, confirming that the dog days of summer are almost at an end.

Following the vote, Dan Eatchel, West Jordan Animal Services Manager, said the temporary units “helped tremendously,” and that, though it did get hot during the summer afternoons, it was “still cooler than outside.”