ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene City Council will be voting on a potential five-year contract for upgraded, “predictor” software for aging city-owned facilities – including the Abilene Zoo.
The Abilene Zoo is a staple of the community. Feeding the giraffes leaves of lettuce, the flamingos squawking as you enter into the park; it’s an attraction most in the Big Country have checked off their lists.
However, behind the scenes, quite a bit goes into running the Abilene Zoo, on top of taking care and feeding all of their exotics.
Clay Carabajal with the Abilene Zoo explained the thought process, “The nuts and bolts of it is, is the a/c working? Is the roof functioning properly? Is this building structurally sound?”
In order to operate, the Abilene Zoo must be accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Meaning it’s held to high standards when it comes to operation, maintenance and animal care. Carabajal said it comes down to several factors for the AZA’s accreditation, being able to sustain your facilities and your budget once you obtain accreditation.
But imagine if you’re at home and your air conditioning unit breaks unexpectedly. It causes some level of stress and can put a large dent in your pocketbook. The same would happen at the Abilene Zoo, except the non-profit zoological park has to adjust their budget in order to repair those unexpected costs.
That’s a big reason why the City of Abilene is pursuing a five-year contract with Brightly, an asset management company, for upgraded predictor software.
If passed by the Abilene City Council, the contract would roughly cost $20,000 over that five-year period. As apart of the deal, Brightly would send in a team of surveyors to oversee every aspect of Abilene’s high traffic buildings.
Director of Parks and Recreation, Lesli Andrews said they will cover each building ‘head to toe,’ from the paint on the walls to the carpet to HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) units. Each different appliance or feature would receive its own barcode, be put in an online database and would track the longevity of its expected use.
For example, if an HVAC unit had a 10-year life expectancy, but began to break down after six years, the database could help manage and prepare the city for those expenses years in advance.
“It gives us a much better prediction of what’s coming and how to predict replacements for that,” Andrews said.
Buildings such as City Hall, the Convention Center, the Abilene Regional Airport and the Police Department are all known to be in the contract, as well as the Abilene Zoo.