Home Cost to move animal shelter to Verona higher than estimate; timeline is uncertain

Cost to move animal shelter to Verona higher than estimate; timeline is uncertain

SVASC shenandoah valley animal services center proposed entrance
Design concept of new entrance to Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center in Verona

The cost to outfit the former Verona Elementary School for use by the Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center has come in with a higher price tag.

SVASC Executive Director Jon Hilbert confirmed the cost has gone up to $4.3 million. The cost was originally estimated at $3 million.

Hilbert said the bids received to do the work exceeded the estimate.

“Negotiations with the low bidder are occurring to get the project within available funds,” he said. “Procurement regulations are being followed.”

The cost will be split by the three localities utilizing the shelter – Augusta County and the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro, based on percentage usage. Augusta County serves as the fiscal agent for the shelter.

Lineage Architects presented its design concept almost one year ago, on May 23, 2023.

The square footage of the shelter, currently located in Lyndhurst, is expected to increase from 5,000 to 39,000 square feet.

Currently, the shelter is experiencing a 15 percent increase in dog intake compared to last year at the same time. Hilbert said that housing issues and increased vet care are the most common reasons given by owners surrendering their pets. He said the shelter has waived adoption fees and are working to find foster support for the animals.

“We have a great group of dogs right now who need loving homes,” he said.

The new shelter plans include individual buildings to allow for separation of cats and dogs, areas for animal exercise, a large training room for community events and clinics, as well as administrative areas and storage.

Construction was originally scheduled to be completed by the fall of this year. The timeline now is uncertain.

“We are hopeful to have negotiations complete and a contract signed by the end of May with construction starting soon after,” Hilbert said. “We do not have a construction schedule at this time.”

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Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.