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New building will need ongoing outside support

A certificate of occupancy was signed June 2 for the new Washington County-Johnson City Animal Shelter on North Roan Street, and staff are ready to begin the moving process.
Animal Control Board members met in the new facility last week, and architect Tom Weems led a tour to point out the features of the 18,500-square-foot building.
Weems said the front area will be the hub of the facility, offering a receptionist, adoption stations, four get-to-know-you rooms to interact with available animals, and two cat colonies.
A puppy playroom located off the main area will provide a space where a person considering adoption could bring in his current dog to ensure the two will get along.
“Everything is made of hard durable surfaces that can be hosed down, making it easier to clean and producing less trash,” Weems said.
The extended ceiling height will keep the temperature between 55-85 degrees nine months out of the year without the use of air-conditioning, he added.
Solid waste stations and pressure washers located on top of the kennel walls will make it easier to keep the animal areas clean and tidy.
City Manager Pete Peterson said the $60,000 entrance sign donated by Snyder Signs and Johnson City Honda will help brand the organization. “We won’t have people asking us how to find the building,” he said, referring to the 25-foot-tall sign that will direct visitors to the shelter and offer information on events and animals available for adoption.
“Many years worth of dreams are starting to come to fruition,” Peterson said.
“This is the type of facility we can be proud of, operate efficiently and have a real chance to achieve zero euthanasia.”
Commissioner Joe Grandy agreed the board has a very nice building.
“Can we pay for it?” he asked.
Johnson City Mayor Ralph Van Brocklin said most of the building is paid for, but funding for the project is very tight.
A question regarding Washington County’s commitment to cover the cost of paving was raised.
An earlier discussion put the paving cost at $65,000, but city leaders asked about the balance of what they understood was a $100,000 pledge.
Grandy clarified the original agreement was for “up to $100,000” in paving costs.
“We’ve had to do some other paving, and we would appreciate Washington County stepping up with the other $35,000,” Van Brocklin said.
Grandy asked where the shelter stands with one month left in the fiscal year, and Director Debbie Dobbs estimated they would end up $20,000 in the hole.
“I’ve increased the request by this much for next year,” she said.
Higher medical costs for animals and a shift in donations from operating expenses to construction of the new facility are the reasons the budget was in the red at the end of May, according to Dobbs.
Van Brocklin noted the annual support from the city and county will not cover the operating costs of the new facility, and ongoing gifts from the community and private sectors will be needed after the building project is completed.
A grand opening is planned for Saturday, June 27, at 5 p.m.