ELLIJAY, Ga. – With formal approval for the Gilmer County Animal Shelter expansion and two generous donations made for funding the project, discussion now turns to designs and plans for the project.
As previously reported from the Commissioners’ September meetings, there does already exist plans for the project. However, these plans now have to go through the process of the county to be prepared and studied for costs. As the approval came to only expand as much as they could within the funds available, the county will be going over these plans.
Additionally, these plans came from a committee put together for the expansion, now moving to the county, they will need to be adjusted and approved by the county before the bidding process, estimated to begin at the end of 2021, can continue the project.
With these photos from the preliminary plan, the public can see what some of the members of FOGAS, the Animal Shelter, the hired engineer, and others who served on that committee had in mind for the shelter.
The coming expansion will allow the Shelter to both better tend to the animals it has, and better care for an increase in that population. Animal Shelter Director Daniel Laukka said in the meeting that growth is coming. While he was urging commissioners at the time to accept the donations and approve an expansion plan, now the focus shifts to how they can meet those needs.
Another comment Laukka made in the meeting told how the shelter is using an older office space for a sick room, the current plans have alloted space for both a sick room and a veterinarian exam room in house. The plans include separate spaces for cats and feral cats as well as dogs. There are also expanded outdoor concepts including an exercise area and dog runs as well as a cat terrace. The engineer also included a second photo in the plans showcasing fully furnished cat rooms utilizing the vertical space for the animals.
According to the plans, the project will renovate approximately 2500 square feet of the original building while adding an additional 5140 square feet in new interior space with an additional 1140 square feet for kennel usage.
Citizens should understand that these plans are still early. One concern brought up by Post Commissioner Karleen Ferguson during the meeting was not to get carried away and approve the project with a “whatever-the-cost” mentality. These plans represent an early stage of the county’s process. However, they do give citizens an idea on what might be possible for the future of the Gilmer County Animal Shelter and a starting point for the county to build from.