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New animal shelter begins
Construction expected to be completed by mid-summer
In this file photo from June 2007, a sign on the office door at the Bulloch Animal Shelter states that the facility is at capacity and can't accept any more animals. A groundbreaking ceremony Thursday marked the beginning of construction for the new shelter, which should be completed by mid-summer.
   A groundbreaking ceremony Thursday marked the beginning of construction for the new Bulloch County Animal Shelter, to be built adjacent to the current facility on Mill Creek Road.
    Bulloch County Commissioners approved a contract Tuesday for construction of an addition to the existing animal shelter. Dabbs and Williams Construction of Statesboro was awarded the contract after 17 contractors submitted bids, which were publicly opened Dec. 9.  
    Dabbs and Williams submitted the lowest bid — $598,490. The plans for the new shelter addition were designed by IPG and Associates, and separate bids will be let for furniture, fixtures and kennel enclosures, said Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn.
    The shelter and Bulloch County Humane enforcement fall under the public safety umbrella.
    "This is a very special occasion for us, also for the county and the City of Statesboro," Wynn said as he opened the ground breaking ceremony Thursday.
    He introduced Bulloch County Manager To Couch, who thanked the commissioners for approving the project, as well as the Bulloch County Animal Shelter committee and Humane Society of Statesboro and Bulloch County for its "direction, guidance and great patience.
    "They contributed a lot to this project and have waited a long time for it," he said. "I think this will be a facility the community can be proud of. It will be safer, healthier and provide a more caring environment for the animals. As our community grows, we will need this facility."
    Wynn said "The project has been in consideration for many years and we are excited to see it coming to fruition. This facility will allow us to focus on the protection of animals, trying to find them homes and the protection of the public."
    The addition will have "office space, adoption rooms, ADA compliant restrooms, handicap-compliant parking, a clinic, training space, an adequate waiting area, isolation for dogs and cats, a laundry area, and food preparation areas," he said.  "It will also utilize energy efficient technology in lighting and ventilation."
    The 7,456 square foot addition was designed with the idea of possibly spaying and neutering adoptable animals in the future, Wynn said. "Two of the existing five buildings will be torn down when the facility is complete some time this summer."
    The new addition will allow for separation of Humane Enforcement cases from other animals. "Safety to the staff and public and energy efficiency were at the forefront in the design," he said. "It was also designed with increased use of inmate labor usage in mind.  Warden Billy Tompkins has been gracious to provide an inmate to help in maintenance and cleaning of the facility, and he has expressed his support in supplying more when the addition is complete."
    After the ground breaking ceremony, some who attended the event visited the animals inside the current facility, awaiting adoption. Puppies licked at the kennel doors and begged for attention while older dogs wagged tails and barked greetings.
    Shelter manager Wendy Ivey said the new addition will mean a world of difference to employees, the public and the animals served.
    "We're just extremely excited," she said. "People don't realize how much benefit it is going to be for the animals that come in here."

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