County hires designers for shelter

The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors approved a contract with the C.T. Male firm of Latham at its Tuesday, Dec. 16, meeting to design and construct a new county animal shelter in Ballston Spa.

The decision was another step in an ongoing process to provide the shelter with improved facilities. The board approved funds in an amount not to exceed $438,500 for the design, and dissolved a previous contract with the Petersen Group of Clifton Park.

The county wants to get the price of the new shelter under $5 million. C.T. Male will embark on a five-stage process from initial design to supervising the construction process, and the county Building and Grounds Committee will decide whether to continue at every step.

The county has examined the possibility of a new shelter for about two years, but their ideal cost has dropped from about $14 million. C.T. Male will scale back previous plans and use prefabricated supplies in many places to cut down costs.

The current shelter on County Farm Road in Ballston Spa is 30 years old, built on to a 100-year-old barn, and doesn't have the ideal space or equipment.

It's something that's needed, said shelter supervisor Daniel Butler. "Thirty years ago it was top notch, but today it's totally different."

He explained that advances in animal care have outpaced the current facilities, as has the shelter's population.

The new shelter will hopefully feature twice as many kennels as the current building, including an area for small animals like gerbils and snakes and an adoption area separated from the rest of the shelter's operations to give the public a suitable place to meet possible pets. Additionally, cats and dogs will be completely separated.

"There's a lot more to this new building than what we have here," said Butler. With improved medical facilities on site, he hopes that more of the animals will be adopted.

Though the size of the new facility has been scaled back in the months of planning, the animals will still receive the same space upgrade as was always discussed.

Butler said the public has been generous in donating funds to the shelter, and he hopes that the roughly $180,000 raised so far can be put towards fenced areas to let adopters play with dogs before taking them home.

The new shelter is to be built right across the road from the current one. ""

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