By Kevin M. Smith

Killeen Daily Herald

Animal shelter renovations and construction of a new police station in Killeen are expected to begin early next year.

The Public Safety Capital Improvement Projects Committee, at a meeting Tuesday, sent its recommendation for the Killeen Animal Shelter renovations and additions to the full Killeen City Council.

The committee also heard a progress report on the new police headquarters and may get a chance to stamp its approval on that project by the end of the year or very soon in 2008.

Brenda Essenburg, general services director for the city's finance department, told the committee that the animal shelter's renovations and additions total $299,644 with the budget for the project at $300,000. The project, originally approved by Killeen voters as a $180,000 bond in 2002, escalated in price as the Animal Advisory Committee began working on plans in March.

The Animal Advisory Committee expected the shelter upgrades to stay close to the budget until September when Killeen police Capt. Steve Hoskins, who oversees the Animal Control Division, told the committee the project would be $70,000 to $110,000 more than the $180,000 the voters approved in 2002. The balance of $120,000 of was approved in the 2007-08 budget and came from the bond money for the new police headquarters.

Essenburg said new kennels for the existing building will cost $124,208, renovations including labor and materials will cost $80,735, kennels for the addition will cost $26,150, architectural and engineering services cost $33,553 and an incinerator for cremation will cost about $25,000.

"Which is within our $300,000 budget," Essenburg said.

The plans call for expanding the lobby, adding a "get-to-know" room where a person could interact with pets being considered for adoption, a 1,800-square-foot metal shell building with heating and air conditioning for dogs, modular cages made from aluminum or stainless steel and cremation equipment.

After discussions with the architect, Essenburg, Hoskins and others decided on a few modifications, including a wall in the lobby with a window to the cats' cages so people could see the animals up for adoption as they walk in. The new plans also call for moving the entrance.

"When may we expect to turn dirt and put some concrete blocks up?" asked Councilman Larry Cole, who sits on the Animal Advisory and Public Safety CIP committees.

Clinton Young, of Jamail Smith Construction, was at the meeting to answer questions. He said the job should be ready to start within 30 days after the council approves it and 90 days to complete after that.

"Right now, it's in the hands of the engineers," Young said.

He said the engineer is soliciting proposals for a contractor. The City Council will consider giving the project final approval at its Jan. 8 meeting.

The Public Safety CIP Committee may call a special meeting this month to review the plans and send it to the council for final approval in January.

City Manager Connie Green said city staff has been reviewing the numbers in the contract with PSA Dewberry architecture firm and Lee Lewis Construction.

"I think we're in good shape right now," Green said.

He said the project appears to fit in the $27 million budget and the city staff has a few things to clarify before it is ready to present it to the committee.

"We hope to have everything for the committee to review at our next meeting in January," Green said.

Committee members said they hoped to get the project started sooner.

"We were on a fast track, and all the sudden we're not on a fast track," said Mayor Timothy Hancock, who sits on the Public Safety CIP Committee.

Councilman Juan Rivera, alternate committee member, asked if the Public Safety CIP Committee could skip the recommendation process and send it straight to the full council when the proposal is ready.

Hancock said he is not comfortable with that in case there is something the committee may want to send back to the architect or contractor. He said that if the committee wants to keep the project on the fast track, it should consider calling a special meeting to make sure it makes the Jan. 8 council agenda.

Contact Kevin M. Smith at or call (254) 501-7550

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