County Commission members were told Wednesday that work is set to get underway within weeks on the new shelter for the Humane Education Society (HES).
Architect Bob Franklin said the project will soon enter the design build phase and then construction will start. He said it will take about a year to build at an eight-acre site off Harrison Pike.
The commission earlier approved $10 million for the project. Mr. Franklin said the total costs would be in the vicinity of $10.5 million to $12.5 million.
Mr. Franklin said, "We intend this to be a state-of-the-art facility and one of the finest animal shelters in the country."
He said it will be designed for 138 dogs and 166 cats. The center, at its dilapidated quarters on Highland Park Avenue, is caring for 325 animals.
Mr. Franklin said it will be "a very unique building" that is designed with the comfort of the animals in mind. There will be infection control and odor control systems in place.
"It will also be an inviting place for members of the public to come," he said.
The facility will have separate entrances for the public and for animal services. There will also be an education area.
The exterior will be of mountain stone with wood and metal siding. He said, "It is not award-winning architecture" but keeps in mind wise use of taxpayer and private donor money, it was stated.
The facility will have 31,550 square feet.