Animal shelter's costs jump

October 24, 2000

Animal shelter's costs jump

By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer

Before the groundbreaking ceremony for a new animal control shelter began Tuesday, The Washington County Commissioners got some bad news: The county may have to chip in about $400,000 more than they expected for the project.


Immediately before participating in the ceremony, the commissioners were told the project estimate for the 12,500-square-foot building has increased from $1.325 million in June to nearly $2 million.

The new shelter will be built next to the existing 4,000-square-foot facility on Maugansville Road, replacing that building.

As part of the county's 20-year animal control contract with the Humane Society of Washington County, the County Commissioners agreed to fund 70 percent of the capital costs of a new shelter.

When the contract was approved in June, the county's 70 percent share was estimated at $927,500. With the increased estimate, the county's 70 percent share reaches about $1.36 million.


Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said he has instructed Humane Society and county staffers to meet and figure out how much of the $1.94 million estimate involves capital cost. The project estimates and design were not prepared by county staff.

The county's share will increase but probably not to the full $1.36 million, Snook said.

Humane Society Executive Director Shelly Moore said, however, she believes all of the $1.94 million is for capital expenses.

She attributed the increased estimate to design changes and to contractors charging more because they are very busy.

In addition, the earlier estimate was for construction and site work only, while the new estimate includes fixtures such as $100,000 for cages and kennels, she said.

The $1.33 million construction contract has been awarded to Excel Construction Co. of Hagerstown, which submitted the lowest of seven bids on the project.

The Humane Society of Washington County has raised about $850,000 in private donations to help pay for the shelter, Moore said.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Moore invited people to see the new facility when it opens next fall. About 40 people attended the ceremony.

The shelter has been overcrowded for years and it was difficult to prevent diseases from spreading among animals, Moore said. The new facility will remedy those problems, she said.

Construction will start in November and take about 10 months, she said.

"This project has been a vision and dream for so many years," Moore said. "It was like Christmas the day the bulldozers pulled in."

The project has been a long time coming and it was great to see if taking off, said Snook, who led the commissioners and others in shoveling some dirt at the ceremony's conclusion.

The new building is expected to enable the Humane Society to double or triple the number of dogs and cats it places with area families.

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