Prince William to begin construction on $15.1 million animal shelter

The new Prince William County Animal Shelter will have a welcome area, a space for families to interact with the animals, a veterinarian’s office, feed and equipment storage areas and grooming space.

The opening date for the new Prince William County Animal Shelter has been delayed until fall 2021.

County officials noted delays in final designs and construction cost estimates that have come in higher than the county budgeted. The project was previously set to be completed by February 2021.

County supervisors approved the $15.1 million shelter at 14807 Bristow Road in 2017. It’ll be built adjacent to the existing facility that was built in 1975 and expanded in 1990. Once work is completed, the old building will be demolished.

Construction was expected to begin last summer on the new facility, that's expected to include 56 dog kennels and 104 cat kennels, along with space to address surge capacity related to animal cruelty or hoarding cases.

Thomas Bruun, the county's director of public works, said once the construction contract is approved by the board of county supervisors in the coming months, construction will require about 18 months. 

"It's a critical project," he said. "We need to get underway and we look forward to delivering this to the community." 

Members of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors said during a Tuesday meeting that residents often reach out to ask about the project's status. 

The county budgeted $10.5 million for general construction of the roughly 27,200 square feet facility, Brunn said, but the lowest bid the county received was $13.2 million, which is about $2.7 million over budget. 

County staff are trying to negotiate to get the construction costs reduced, he said. Those changes could include a different roof, different site development plans and other changes. 

Another change includes decreasing the contingency amount for the project from $1 million to cover 9.4% of the construction costs to about 4.6% of project cost. Contingency amount is funding dedicated to the project in case the project’s cost goes over budget. Bruun said historically county staff deliver projects while using less than 5% of contingency funds. 

Despite the hurdle with awarding the construction contract, Bruun still expects the county will be able to build a quality facility that will meet all guidelines required. 

"We believe we'll be delivering a state-of-the-art facility," he told the board. "But we need to bring this [construction cost] down to allow them to award the contract and get this building built."

Once staff is ready, they will bring the proposed construction contract to the board for final approval, Bruun said.

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