The Guilford County Board of Commissioners has called a work session for Thursday afternoon, July 18 to “receive an update on and consider a proposed contract for additional design services for the Guilford County Animal Shelter.”

The commissioners have been getting a lot of feedback recently from some animal loving citizens who are glad the county is building a new shelter but are displeased that the version that’s now taking shape is slated to be about two-thirds the size of the one originally discussed.

The 3 p.m. work session in the Blue Room of the Old Guilford County Court House will allow the board to hear some details from county facilities staff and others on the progress of the project, and it will also give them an opportunity to consider any design changes.

The new shelter is currently budgeted to cost just under $15 million.  Last year, county staff brought proposals to the board that would have cost $18 million to $20 million for a larger shelter with more bells and whistles; however, the board was surprised by that proposal since it was well over the budget allotment.

County commissioners and county staff alike have said recently that a smaller shelter doesn’t mean worse care for the animals. They maintain that the new shelter is designed in a way that makes it possible to add more space later if needed and they also stress that the county plans to beef up programs meant to reduce the shelter’s population.

Guilford County Commissioner Justin Conrad said this week that there is a mistaken belief out there among some that the commissioners at some point cut the budget for the shelter and he said that is absolutely not the case.

“That is a misconception,” Conrad said, “We didn’t cut the budget.”

He pointed out that the nearly  $15 million being spent for the project is in fact significantly higher than was originally planned.

Years ago, early estimates were that the project could be done for under $10 million and, during discussions in recent years, the cost of the project has grown to nearly  $15 million.

Conrad said that rising construction costs were the big culprit that reduced the square-footage of the facility.