Bibb commissioners learn more about new animal shelter

pramati@macon.comApril 2, 2013 

Architects working on the new Bibb County Animal Welfare facility presented to the Bibb County Commission plans for where the new building will be situated and how it will be designed.

During Tuesday’s regularly called board meeting, architects Aaron Harte of Tevis Architects and Gene Dunwody Sr. of Dunwody/Beeland Architects Inc. gave the presentation for the new facility, which will cost $3 million and be paid for by funds raised by the special purpose local option sales tax approved last year.

Dunwody explained to commissioners that the building will be set back on a hill in a lightly wooded part of the land at 4280 Fulton Mill Road. Not only is it a natural spot on the parcel to place the building, he said, but it also will be situated so as not to disturb neighborhood residents.

“It’s a natural location,” he said. “We want to work a balance between the public who wants to see the facility and the public who lives there.”

Harte gave a detailed presentation of what amenities the facility will include to make it optimal for employees, the public and the animals placed there.

The building will be between 10,500 and 11,500 square feet, with the possibility of future expansion should the need arise. It will have the capacity to hold an average of 92 dogs and 46 cats, though it will have the ability to increase those totals slightly should the need arise.

For adoptable animals, it should be able to hold adoptable dogs for 17.5 to 20 days above the seven days prescribed by law that animals must be held, and about 22.5 days above that for cats.

Harte said the shelter is designed to be low-kill, and will have separate vestibules for dogs and cats, and separate entrances for animals being delivered to the shelter and those being taken away.

The design calls for the shelter’s entrance to be along an access road off Fulton Mill Road, with a large circular driveway. Plans call for separate walking trails for humans and animals.

Bibb County Animal Welfare Director Sarah Tenon said she’s pleased with the overall plan.

“It’s very ideal,” she said. “I look forward to working with (the architects). We’re well on our way to a much-needed, state-of-the-art facility.”

Commissioner Lonzy Edwards, who serves as chairman for the subcommittee charged with building the new shelter, also expressed his satisfaction. He said the team was able to gain valuable insight from other animal control facilities from across the state.

“Being expandable is key,” he said. “(The design) represents the best thinking (in shelter design) right now. (The team) had conversations with the other shelters and learned where they made mistakes, which will save us money and time, which will help greatly. We want this (shelter) to be a model for what these things are.”

In other county commission business Thursday, commissioners approved having Chairman Sam Hart write a letter to the Georgia Department of Transportation that stresses the need for traffic lights at the intersection of Eisenhower Parkway and Fulton Mill Road.

The move comes after the death of 61-year-old Patsy Nicholas, who died in a wreck March 24 after she attempted to merge onto Eisenhower and was struck by a westbound vehicle.

Since the accident, Bibb County Commissioner Joe Allen -- whose district includes the intersection -- has been vocal in trying to get lights out there. Allen noted Tuesday morning that he had a wreck at the same intersection a few years ago, though no one was injured. Allen gave other commissioners copies of 16 letters he has received from area residents asking for a traffic signal at the intersection.

“People are not happy with a roundabout,” Allen said. “They want lights out there.”

Allen added that in addition to the lights, he also wants signage put up that warns drivers about the intersection.

Because the road is a state road, the Georgia DOT must give permission to put a signal or signs there.

In addition to the letter, Bibb County officials have collected traffic counts, accident reports and other data to show the state the danger at the intersection. Commissioners are also scheduled to have a meeting Wednesday with DOT officials.

Also on Tuesday:

• Commissioners were informed Board of Elections Supervisor Jeanetta Watson that Republicans Rinda Wilson and Herbert Spangler and Democrats Ronnie Miley and Stephen Allen have been appointed to the county Board of Elections for a term that expires March 31, 2015. The four appointees selected Barbara Clowers as the nonpartisan member.

• Commissioners unanimously approved naming Grant Faulkner as director of information technology services after having served as the interim in that position.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.

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