Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker Unveils Design Plan for New BARC Adoption Center

Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker unveiled design plans for a new Adoption Center at BARC, the City of Houston’s animal shelter and adoption facility. The plan announced on Tuesday consists of several phases and is located on a 2.2 acre parcel of land adjacent to the existing BARC facility, acquired via a tax sale. The first phase will be funded by $4.1 Million of Capital Improvement Project monies appropriated for the renovation of BARC since late 2009. BARC and the Houston BARC Foundation will launch a Capital Campaign to finance the remaining phases with private funds.

The first phase of the BARC Adoption Center will include features such as a dedicated parking lot and driveways, Welcome Lobby with free roaming cat “display windows”, two dog adoption suites, and a “nursery” for young dogs available for adoption. Phase I will also include a courtyard that will ultimately serve as a quadrangle, a green space enclosed on four sides, with areas for animals to exercise and for BARC animals to get acquainted with potential adopting families.

The Adoption Center plans include four subsequent construction phases: additional dog and cat adoption suites, administrative space for volunteer training and events, and clinical areas to house a low-cost, high-volume spay/neuter clinic. The Adoption Center Capital Campaign goal is to raise the estimated additional $8 Million to complete the project. Individuals interested in supporting the future phases of the BARC Adoption Center may do so at the websites for BARC ( and the Houston BARC Foundation (

“One of my Administration’s priorities is to improve the Quality of Life in our city. Part of improving the quality of life for Houston means ensuring that formerly homeless animals have proper shelter without being a nuisance in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Parker. “With the support of Houstonians BARC can, and will, become the greatest shelter in the United States. Our new Adoption Center is an exciting step towards that goal.”

This is just part of the positive changes implemented at BARC over the last 2 years, including: new staff, new volunteer, foster, and adoption programs, increased spay/neuter benefits and pet-owner behavior classes, and a committment to transparency unique among Houston shelters. BARC has published its monthly operating reports using the Asilomar Accord reporting format on its website,

Houston is a 624 square mile city, and very conservative estimates indicate that there are more than 300,000 stray or abandoned dogs and cats throughout Houston. BARC is required by law to accept every animal picked up off the streets or surrendered to this facility. BARC’s current average intake of dogs and cats is nearly 100 per day, and BARC expects over 2,000 animals per month will be processed and cared for over the coming summer months.

“For the past two years, BARC has forced the existing facilities to meet the demands of our new operating protocols and standard practices. We inherited buildings which were designed for the needs of a different Houston, which did not focus on creating a valuable ‘shopping’ experience for our volunteers, fosters, and adopters. The new BARC Adoption Center will provide that; it is an investment in Houston’s future,” said Alfred Moran, Director of the Administration & Regulatory Affairs Department, which oversees BARC.

Leading Houston and Texas firms contributed to the design, and will create, the new BARC Adoption Center. Jackson & Ryan Architects is the BARC Adoption Center architect of record, and Balfour Beatty will serve as construction manager at-risk. Services are also provided by PBK as a pro bono design consultant to the Administration & Regulatory Affairs Department. Trees for Houston and Lauren Griffith Associates will also donate trees and landscape architecture for the Adoption Center courtyard quadrangle and surrounding grounds, respectively.

The simplest, but most powerful thing you can do to help the BARC Houston shelter, and pets throughout our community, is to talk to your friends, neighbors, and family about caring for pets responsibly, and spaying and neutering all animals.

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Greg Jeu

Greg Jeu is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of OutSmart Magazine.

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