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Saturday, April 20, 2019
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Construction & Building

AUG 02 - Lott-Barber, Artley Construction Design and Build New County Animal Control Facility

By Lou Phelps
SBJ Staff

The Chatham County Commission celebrated the opening of a new Animal Control Facility last Friday at 7211 Sallie Mood Dr., designed by Lott+Barber of Savannah and built by Artley Company of Sylvania.

The state-of-the-art facility has a total of 12,733 square feet with a 4,589 square-foot administration building connected to approximately 8,144 square feet of kennel space. The total cost to design, construct and equip both buildings including furnishings, was $2.5 million, according to Chatham County Commission Chairman Pete Liakakis.

“The new facility heralds a new era of animal welfare in our community,” Liakakis said. “It shows the county’s commitment to animal welfare when the county commission placed this project as a high priority to replace the antiquated structure and dilapidated shelter with one of the best facilities of its type in the nation.”

In discussing the project, Liakakis focused on the kennel areas, which will house stray dogs. Each of the 116 kennels provides for the humane treatment of stray dogs, including a dog run, automatic water feeder, stainless food bowl, pull-down bed, and waste collection system. He noted that dogs can be segregated for intake, daily care and aggressiveness. A separate area serves as holding pens for cats.

“I remain hopeful that the adoption and educational programs get the message out about the need for responsible pet ownership,” he said. “Let’s hope it never becomes necessary, but the flexible design as adapted to the site allows for doubling the number of kennel areas based on future needs.”

Besides the improved conditions for rescued dogs and cats, the facility also provides for more efficiency and safety in their handling as well as a new crematorium for sanitary disposal when the need arises, he said.
Liakakis also highlighted the facility’s other features, including:
• Outdoor exercise areas to ensure play time and provide an area for dogs to interact for possible adoption.
• Dogs can be bathed in dedicated wash areas.
• A waste collection system that will help to improve sanitary conditions.

Liakakis said the facility also includes plans to increase awareness about responsible pet ownership and to encourage adoptions of spayed and neutered pets in hopes that the annual euthanasia of some 4,000 dogs and cats will become significantly curtailed.

“Our goal should be to encourage adoptions and promote spaying and neutering,” he said. “Nothing would please us more than to see the euthanasia numbers decrease.”

The new facility took advantage of the site where the former hodge-podge arrangement of trailers and antiquated shelter stood since the 1960s. It provided only basic conditions with 38 cages, and the facility could not adequately handle basic requirements of waste disposal and cleaning.

Before the new facility could be constructed, the county cleared the site by demolishing two aged warehouses, a project which included first relocating irreplaceable county records to an acquired records center.

“The use of the existing site caused some coordination problems because the old shelter needed to remain open and accessible,” he said. “The location on Sallie Mood still proved an advantage because it saved the cost of land acquisition, everyone knows its location and the parcel met all requirements for available utilities, paved access and future expansion.”

The architectural firm of Lott+Barber completed the design, which a citizens committee helped to develop. The design team included representatives from animal welfare agencies, law enforcement, Commissioner Helen Stone (a former Humane Society President) and county staff.

Artley Company of Sylvania, owned by Jimmy Artley, completed the construction which took about a year to build. The firm has been building in the greater Savannah area since 1901.

Other recent construction projects in the Savannah area include the Day Care Center at Savannah Christian Preparatory School, Fire Station #7 for the City of Savannah, the Southside Fire Station across from Lake Mayer and the Pooler Fire Station.

The Board of Commissioners funded the project through funds generated by a bond refinancing and its capital improvement plan, which becomes funded through savings in operating funds, according to Liakakis.

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