New animal center project moving forward in Franklin

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Public Building Authority

The Public Building Authority heard from site planners and an architect on Tuesday involved in the new Williamson County Animal Center projectThe board discussed early preliminary plans for the new center.

The Public Building Authority met Tuesday morning at the Williamson County Administrative Complex to discuss early preliminary plans for the new Williamson County Animal Center.

The site of the new center is located on a parcel of land on Old Charlotte Pike in Franklin. The Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen currently have two additional upcoming readings scheduled on whether to approve the site plan and rezone the land. 

Both the city of Franklin and Williamson County benefit from the new center, Director of the Williamson County Animal Center Ondrea Johnson explained at a previous meeting.

Though the shelter bears the county’s name, each municipality pitches in for the animal control service. However, Johnson said a large portion — up to half — of the animals in the shelter come from Franklin, a factor that could be taken into account when discussing future funding for the center. 

“It’s definitely a conversation,” she said previously. “The county shouldn’t bear the full burden. We’re providing this facility because it’s a legislatively required service that municipalities have to provide. Of course, none of the municipalities want to operate an animal center or provide animal control, so it makes more sense for them to contract with us.” 

Mike Barnard, president of Shelter Planners of America, shared more about the proposed interior schematic design for the center after consulting with animal center staff on future needs. 

“The average length of stay is the most critical component for sizing the animal shelter,” he said. “Currently, you have 62 dogs and 133 cats. The average length of stay for dogs is 13 days, and the average length of stay for cats is 20 days.”

The preliminary plan proposes a 30,320-square-foot center, split into two buildings to separate cats and dogs. Plans show it would be able to house 88 dogs and 180 cats at a time. 

A public dog park was discussed as a possibility to be included in the project, as well. 

Jim Cross, owner of consulting firm Oversite and representative for the project, explained the Public Building Authority’s approval on Tuesday helped move the project further along in the request for proposal (RFP) from contractors. 

“We will send out RFPs to the contractors to start getting their proposals in, which will start the budgeting process,” he said. “Probably within 60 days, we’ll have an idea of where we’re from a budgeting perspective.” 

The Public Building Authority’s next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 22 starting at 8 a.m. They will conduct interviews with interested contractors.

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