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Panel narrows design firms for shelter
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Forsyth County News

The selection committee for the design of the future Forsyth County animal shelter took a next step toward making the facility a reality.

The three-member group created a short list of its top three firms from a list of 11 who submitted at a Thursday meeting.

The architects that made the cut were: Bacon Group of Clearwater, Fla., Jackson & Ryan Architects of Houston, Texas, and RKS Green Consulting Group of Cumming, in collaboration with

Representatives will be invited back this month, possibly June 27, to give a presentation and answer questions before the committee reaches a final decision.

The subcommittee members include John McGruder and Lance White of the Forsyth County Animal Control and Shelter Committee, as well as Steve Rhoades of the county public facilities department.

The selection committee reached a decision after a 30-minute closed executive session, following the requirements of the recent changes to the Georgia Open Meetings Act.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard explained that the committee’s meetings must be public, but the proposals they’re reviewing are sealed until a vote is taken or the project is terminated.

“Once you take a vote in open session related to these proposals, under the open records act, they lose their exempt status,” Jarrard said. “They would then be open to everyone, which is a reason you probably want to wait on taking an open vote until you have a good consensus here of where you’re going.”

No construction schedule has yet been set for the shelter, and the project will be taken one step at a time, said Donna Kukarola, the county’s procurement director.

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.

A February presentation to commissioners showed projections that the 15,000-square-foot facility could be finished by fall 2013.