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Firm recommended for animal shelter
Final decision up to county commission
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Forsyth County News

An architectural project team with local ties has earned the nod from a committee charged with helping oversee the construction of a new Forsyth County animal shelter.

The five-member board Tuesday unanimously chose RKS Green Consulting Group, which collaborated with, as its recommendation to design the county’s animal shelter.

The county commission will get the final vote on whether to go with the committee’s choice.

Committee member Lance White said the selection offered the “most experience and the lowest price.”

RKS submitted a bid of $181,250 for the design work, which was about $4,000 lower than Bacon Group, a firm out of Clearwater, Fla.

The third project team under consideration, Jackson & Ryan Architects of Houston, bid $230,000.

White said the three-member selection team, which he served on, agreed that all the architects had much to offer.

“You could have almost just drawn them out of a hat, and we would have gone with a great company,” he said.

RKS and Shelterplanners were selected for the project in 2009, when Forsyth first considered building a new animal shelter. But the county then decided to change course on how to go about the bids, which led to this process.

The shelter, approved as part of the November 1-cent sales tax referendum, is slated to be built on County Way for about $2 million.

Though revenue from the six-year tax extension won’t start coming in until July 2013, the county plans to borrow the money from its reserve fund to build a shelter and pay it back with interest.

The 15,000-square-foot facility is estimated for completion at the start of 2014.

Chairman John McGruder noted the significance of taking this step forward since the committee’s formation 18 months ago.

The group reviewed the tasks initially assigned by the commissioners in considering its next steps.

Deputy County Manager Tim Merritt said the committee was asked to suggest methods to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the county’s animal control program.

To that effect, the committee made a 5-0 recommendation to commissioners to consider housing the animal control operations in the new shelter facility.

Whether that program will remain under the sheriff’s office has not been determined, but no matter who’s in charge, the animal officers will need space at the building, the committee agreed.

The group also discussed considerations for other factors that could impact the shelter’s design, such as a medical facility, incinerator and multiple entrances in the shelter.

“There may be other recommendations that you will also want to make,” Merritt said. “I think we’ve got our work cut out for us for the next two to three months.”

The committee set its next meeting for Aug. 15.