The DeKalb County Commission voted 6-0 on Tuesday to award an $8.6 million construction contract for a new animal shelter. MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM

DeKalb’s new animal shelter will cost $8.6 million

The DeKalb County Commission awarded an $8.6 million contract Tuesday to build an animal shelter near DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in Chamblee.

The 6-0 vote brought the county a step closer toward a new facility that animal advocates have sought for years for homeless pets.

DeKalb’s existing animal shelter off Memorial Drive had serious health hazards, including bug infestations and mold, according to a 2011 report from a citizen task force. At one point, euthanasia rates topped 60 percent, though that number declined significantly after the county outsourced shelter operations in 2014.

The replacement animal shelter will be built by Reeves & Young Construction, a Suwanee-based company that came in with the lowest responsible bid among five competitors.

The 33,440-square-foot facility will be finished within a year of the county giving its notice to proceed with construction, but the county is still debating how to fund it. Money could come from general funds, short-term bonds or other sources.

“The scope of this project … fully accommodates the existing complement of animals, so this is a facility that should be able to serve us for years into the future,” said Commissioner Jeff Rader before the vote. “I’m happy it came in at an attractive low bid.”

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