Gold shovels scooped heaps of Georgia clay out of the ground Wednesday in a ceremonial start to construction on what aspires to be the state’s best public animal shelter.
“We will stand second to none in the counties surrounding us in this animal shelter,” said Pete Amos, chairman of the Forsyth County commission.
“The citizens of this county will have the kind of animal shelter that they can be proud of. It’s because of the community’s support that we are able to be here today.”
The 13,700-square-foot facility was a project approved as part of a November 2011 referendum to extend the 1-cent sales tax. Its expected completion is in early 2014, with the total project cost at about $3 million.
The building on County Way off of Ga. 400 in north Forsyth will replace the current shelter on Old Atlanta Road, which has been operated through a public-private partnership with Lanier and Annette Orr since the early 1980s.
Lanier Orr said he thinks the new shelter is a “perfect location” and he’s excited to see it completed.
“We’re ready for it and we deserve it,” he said.
The county’s needs have outgrown the facility and the Orrs are looking forward to stepping down.
“A simple thank you is nowhere near enough to express the county’s appreciation for their services throughout the years,” Amos said. “I especially want to thank them for continuing to operate the current shelter as we have been working toward construction of a new shelter.”
Lanier Orr served on a five-member advisory committee that has been meeting since early 2011 to evaluate the county’s needs and plan for the new shelter.
Commissioner Todd Levent, also a committee member, thanked the group and its county support staff for the work involved.
“A great deal of thought, time, research and hard work went into this project,” Levent said. “It has been designed to promote adoption, public education and collaboration with local animal advocacy groups.”
The facility was designed by RKS Green Consulting and Shelterplanners.com. The general contractor for the project is CRS Building Corporation.