The architects designing the new Bibb County Animal Welfare center heard from 15 members of the community Thursday as to what their priorities are for the new shelter.
Gene Dunwody Sr. of Dunwody/Beeland Architects Inc. conducted the meeting, which was called to both hear ideas from the community and to answer questions. Terry Tevis, of Tevis Architects in Kansas, is serving as the lead architect on the project because of his experience in working on animal shelters, Dunwody said.
Tevis told those in attendance that the project is in the earliest stages. The architects are still working through the budget process and havent yet figured out how big the new facility will be. Tevis said the team would be studying animal population statistics and future projects to decide how many dogs and cats the new shelter would accommodate, but added that the new shelter would be built to include the possibility of expansion, if necessary.
Tevis said some of the features of the new shelter would include separate areas for dogs and cats, trails on the property for area residents and the shelters animals, and meeting space for outreach and education programs run by Bibb County Animal Welfare.
The shelter will be built from $3 million as part of the 2012 special purpose local option sales tax. Bibb County commissioners acquired the property at 4280 Fulton Mill Road from the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority for no cost.
Mike Ratterree, a resident of the neighborhood where the shelter would be built, said he and his neighbors arent too happy that the shelter would be built there, but are willing to accept it so long as theres no noise from the shelter and it doesnt cause traffic issues.
Bibb County Animal Welfare Director Sarah Tenon said she agreed with most of the public comments. She said that ideally, the new shelter would have space for between 125 and 150 animals, but almost anything would be an improvement over the current shelter.
We need to get the new facility and get out of that dump, she said. We need something thats conducive to healthy animals and that can bring the community together. We need to focus on the animals and the staff.
Dunwody said the architects plan to visit three animal shelters in other Georgia communities that are close to Bibb Countys size, including the shelter in Gwinnett County.
Dunwody said officials hope to break ground on the new building by late summer, and are looking at 10 months to complete construction.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.