County Purchasing Director Bill Peacock said the county completed the initial process of submitting requests for proposals to architectural firms the county believes would be interested in designing a new animal shelter in Deer Lick Park near Lithia Springs.
Although the deadline is March 28, Peacock said he already had received numerous calls from such firms.
Peacock said after the architects submit their proposals, the county will develop a selection committee representing several different county departments to review and evaluate the responses and select which ones it would invite to appear before the committee.
The committee then will choose two or three architectural firms and request they appear before the committee and make their formal presentations with regard to the animal shelter design.
“After these presentations have been made to the committee, it will select one architectural firm and take its proposal to the entire county commission for its approval to allow us to enter into an agreement for that design,” Peacock said.
Once the plans are in place, he will then seek bids for a contractor for the job and then evaluate the companies that respond.
“We hope to be able to accomplish this and select the contractor by the end of the summer,” Peacock said.
Then, based on how long it will take for the selected contractor to be ready to build, the county will conduct a groundbreaking ceremony and construction would begin.
“I don’t think it will take long after the contractor is in place as our contract with them will include a definite start date for construction,” Peacock said.
County Commissioner Henry Mitchell III said he was excited about reaching the point that requests for architectural firms were being sent out.
“There is a lot more work that has to be done but I am glad that we are now at this point,” he said.
“I am an animal lover and what we are doing essentially is speaking for those who cannot speak, meaning the animals at our animal shelter.”
Mitchell said he was looking forward to Villa Rica, Austell and other cities supporting the new animal shelter.
“This animal shelter is a structure everyone in our county can look forward to opening,” he said. Douglas County Animal Services Director Frances McMillian said animal capacity at the shelter, which was built in 1984, is 125. Although there are 106 animals at the shelter now, winter is usually its slowest period for sheltering animals with summer being its busiest.
“Last summer in this facility, we had 245 animals on the premises,” she said.
McMillan said a majority of the animals in the shelter now are being held due to their involvement in court cases, such as animal attacks, animal bites or animal cruelty.
She said she is pleased the process of constructing a new animal shelter had reached this point.
McMillan said a new shelter will assist her department in providing better services to residents.