FARMINGTON — The Farmington Regional Animal Shelter will open Dec. 6, and staff of the old shelter are excited.

"It's going to be the Taj Mahal compared to this place," said Shawn Lyle, interim director of the old shelter.

Amber Francisco agrees. Francisco, community program coordinator at the shelter, said the move to the new building will be an upgrade. She anticipates a rise in volunteers, visitors and adoptions, and she attributes that to the new shelter's location.

The $46 million building sits at 133 Browning Parkway near Animas Park and between the Animas and San Juan rivers. Visitors will be able to walk dogs along the water, she said. Volunteers are already eager to help, she said. The shelter will be open seven days a week, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., according to a press release.

Between today and next week, most of the remaining equipment from the old shelter -- kennels, dog beds, cat litter boxes and toys -- will be moved into the new building, said Cory Styron, director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs. Renovations to the transported spay and neuter double-wide trailer also will soon be completed, he said.

The shelter's staff and its resident animals will move in Dec. 5, and the old shelter will be closed for that day, according to the release.

The new 14,542-square-foot shelter is almost twice the size of the old building and will hold more than two times as many animals. In the building, there is a 1,125-square-foot intake garage and a crematorium. Among the many rooms are a community room for pet education, rooms for dog adoptions and feral cats, and a room for exotic animals such as large boa constrictors.

Administration Coordinator Samantha Embry looks forward to working in a building without clogged drains, crumbling walls and that smell wafting from the city's Wastewater Treatment Plant, she said.

And, she said, the new shelter is beautiful. People considering adoptions will likely be less shy, she said. "When they come to adopt a new family member, we want it to be a nice and friendly place," she said, "not an institutional feel."

The old shelter is small, loud and uninviting, she said -- it scares people away.

For more information about the new shelter, call 505-599-1098.

"We're just all excited," Francisco said.

Dan Schwartz covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606 and Follow him @dtdschwartz on Twitter.