Tevis Architects, hired to do an assessment of the Oconee County Animal Shelter, is recommending that the county replace the entire facility, located at 1171 Branch Road in the far south of the county.
In a report dated Jan. 9, 2017, Tevis said that the while renovation of the existing facility was possible, “it would be far less costly to build a new facility.”
The firm did not recommend a location for the facility or include the price of land in the cost estimate.
The report did note that a drainage swale runs through the current site, causing flooding, and that a modern facility requires sewage service, rather than the current septic system. County sewage service is only available in the north of the county.
The Oconee County Board of Commissioners agreed on Sept. 6 of last year to pay Tevis Architects, with an office in Atlanta, $10,000 to evaluate the existing Animal Control facility and offer recommendations on what can be done to improve and expand the facility.
In the 69-page report, Tevis said it relied on data provided by the Oconee County Animal Control Department staff and on data it gathered on its own. The firm also said it relied on its own experience and accepted guidelines for animal control facilities.
And Cat Holding Area
Tevis said it looked at facility capacity, needed holding areas, the mechanical system, work flow, accessibility, administrative space, and public access and public impressions of the facility.
Oconee County Administrative Officer Jeff Benko told the Commissioners at a work session on Jan. 10 that he expected the county’s Animal Control Board to take up the Tevis report at its meeting on Feb. 8.
The current sheltering facility consists of a 6,228 square foot building constructed approximately 16 years ago.
The report states that the building has been well maintained but is currently in need of several maintenance items.
“Improvements to both the building and immediate site area would be needed to bring the facility into full compliance with current building codes,” according to the report.
The current facility is not in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the report.
“A fully compliant facility would contain at least two ADA accessible toilets for the public and a 48" wide path of travel through the facility,” Tevis wrote.
The current facility has only one restroom.
List Of Inadequacies
The facility is not large enough to meet future needs of the county, according to the report.
A washer and dryer are located in the cat holding area, according to the report, and sanitizing agent is dispensed in that same cat holding area. “Animals are not protected from exposure to these chemicals in the event of a spill,” according to the report.
Additional holding areas are needed for quarantine and aggressive animals, Tevis concluded.
The facility lacks an isolation area are for animals that may be contagious to other animals.
The current mechanical system does not allow for fresh air or separation of atmospheres between healthy hold and quarantine areas. The dog kennels are not air-conditioned.
The current facility lacks adequate conference or meeting areas and an adoption counseling area.
“The facility should be easily accessible by the public and provide a healthy and inviting environment for animals, staff and visitors,” Tevis wrote.
The current Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax includes $750,000 for an Animal Shelter, far short of the money Tevis said is required.
Tevis wrote that its “recommendations are provided without bias to available funding. This report should be used as a starting point for further discussion and development of a final building program and design for final implementation.”
Tevis said it does not recommend that the existing structure “be incorporated as part of the new facility.”
The building costs are based on current construction values and should be increased by 4 percent per year until the project is formally bid, the report states.