Habersham County proceeding with animal shelter project

Planning continues for a new Habersham County Animal Care and Control shelter facility.

The process was delayed when the projected cost of grading for the original site was determined to be  cost-prohibitive at up to $1 million.

The county searched for other properties, eventually selecting county-owned property behind South Habersham Middle School off Old Athens Highway.

Chief Financial Officer Tim Sims said, “That property offers plenty of room for both the future park and an animal shelter. Hopefully with the addition of a future park, it will spark additional citizen interest for volunteering and adoptions at the animal shelter.”

The facility design contract was awarded to architectural firm Croft & Associates, which has extensive experience in both public safety and animal care and control facilities.

Croft has nearly completed the preliminary design for the planned shelter.

The shelter is one of several projects set forth in the county’s Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax VII.

Construction costs, however, have quadrupled since the budget for the shelter was set due to inflation and supply chain issues in the post-pandemic economy.

Habersham County currently is in the process of bidding out the services for a construction manager at risk to oversee the project. That contract could be awarded in the next 90 days. There are estimated to be five months left in the design process.

Once the construction manager at risk is selected and the project is value engineered to be economically feasible with budgetary constraints, then the project will be bid out to construction firms.

The goal is to break ground on the new shelter facility in 2024.

Construction is expected to take 12 to 18 months once the construction bid has been awarded.