The decades-long dream of a new animal shelter for Columbus and Lowndes County is almost a reality. Work is almost complete on the new canine shelter, and a large building that will provide administrative offices, surgery facilities and a feline shelter is framed and almost weatherproof. The new facility is being built on the south side of Airline Road on land donated by the heirs of late Columbus industrialist Ralph Williamson. CLHS board members say that $150,000 is needed to finish the multi-purpose building. Cost of the entire project will be around one million dollars. Board president Juliaette Sharp said this week that all of the money comes from private contributors, nothing from government agencies. In addition to monetary contributions, many local contractors and business people have provided free materials and services for the project.
The new facility will allow the Humane Society to escape from the crumbling, pitching shelter that was built 40 years ago on top of an old landfill. The new facility is several hundred yards from the old one and on the opposite side of Airline Road.
Sharp praised general contractor Darwin Holliman for the quality of his work and his spirit of cooperation. She said that when other contractors offered services that reduced the scope of Holliman’s work he welcomed the contributions too.
The old facility has 6,800 square feet under roof, including the offices. It has holding pens for 74 dogs, but all of the pens are small and do not have open-air access. The new facility has 4,700 square feet under roof in the canine shelter—but this includes awnings over the open-air runs. The new multi-purpose building has 4,640 square feet (with nine-foot ceilings).
Cost of the new canine shelter was a little more than $600,000. Cost of the multi-purpose building is around $350,000. The CLHS board had $200,000 to spend on the multi-purpose building and opted to frame and roof the building now and finish the interior as contributions come in.
Work officially started on the project on January 17, 2012, though donated site work had been done prior to that date.
Sharp said that contributions, including money, services and materials, have come from people throughout the community but said that many do not want public recognition. She added that last year’s Heritage Academy seniors “have been very helpful.”