County breaks ground on animal shelter

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By Jennifer Garcia

Construction crews will soon be cropping up near the dog obedience school.

On Thursday county staff joined county councilors at the future site of the new animal shelter to participate in the official groundbreaking.

The small group gathered in the empty lot to watch county officials don hard hats and grab shovels in preparation for the event.

Among those present was County Chair Michael Wheeler; County Councilors Nona Bowman and Sharon Stover; County Administrator Max Baker; Police Chief Wayne Torpy; animal shelter employees and Capital Projects and Facilities Director Anne Laurent, to name a few.

Even a dog from the animal shelter showed up for the event. Ginger is one of the dogs currently available for adoption at the shelter.

“It’s another great day for the future of Los Alamos,” Wheeler said before turning the shovelfuls of dirt. “It’s time for the animal shelter to be permanent … enough of the temporary stuff.”

Baker also said a few words during the ceremony.

“It’s another great day for the county. This shows we can partner with community organizations to bring about a great product.”

He went on to say that he appreciates everyone’s help and mentioned that a lot of people have been involved in the design of the facility.

The ground breaking was preceded by a brief update on the project that Laurent gave council on Tuesday night.

Also during the meeting, council voted 6-0 to approve the 100 percent design review and gave approval to proceed with construction.

Though she talked only briefly about the project, Laurent assured councilors that everything is going according to plan. “We’re still within all the costs that have been approved,” she said.

She also mentioned that there is $31,254 in a contingency fund, as well.

The last action that was taken on the animal shelter was in January when council approved the budget revision authorized at the Dec. 16, 2008, meeting in the amount of $140,000, which increased the animal shelter approved budget to $1,497,380.

In September 2008, council awarded RFP No. 2009-1653 to the team of Klinger Constructors, LLC and Mullen Heller Architecture PC in the proposed amount of $933,535 for the construction of the animal shelter.

At that point, the project budget in the amount of $1,278,380 was established.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Bowman commented about the project and said, “We’ve needed for a long time to provide a better animal shelter. This is going to be a beautiful building.”

Mobilization for construction is scheduled to start the middle of next week.  The precise start date depends on when the county receives plan review approvals from the state CID (Construction Industries Division).