Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Ruston moving forward with animal shelter

Sunday, April 7, 2019

The city of Ruston is still committed to changing to the image of animal control; it is just taking a little longer than initially expected.

Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker said at the request of 4 Paws Rescue, Inc., the city hired Shelter Planners of America as a consultant at the beginning of the planning process to build a new animal shelter on part of the former municipal airport property on Farmerville Street.

Contracted on the advice of Shelter Planners, the local architecture and interior design firm Studio Brooks + Emory presented plans for the $2.3 million shelter early last year.

The new Ruston Animal Shelter is part of the Moving Ruston Forward infrastructure improvement program approved by voters in 2016.

“4 Paws then requested that we hire Shelter Planners of America to oversee the process, which we also did, so that slowed the process down at least a year,” Walker said.

Additionally, problems with construction have stemmed from a lack of access to the facility’s proposed new location.

“We had planned on buying some land for a road that goes straight into it,” Walker said. “We could not purchase that property; the owners did not want to sell.”

Plans for the access road were adjusted, and the engineering firm Hunt, Guillot & Associates was hired to do the work for that road.

“They are in the process of doing soil testing and that is necessary before road construction can begin,” Walker said.

Dirt work progress on the site has been made,andconstruction is expected to begin in early 2020.

“We have done a lot of dirt work at the site filling in space to get it up to grade and to make sure the structure will be supported,” said Marla Emory of Studio Brooks + Emory.

“We were having abit of trouble with the dirt compacting, but it has settled, and we are moving forward. The weather has not been forgiving this year.”

Emory said 45% of the construction documents have been completed and they expect to start accepting construction bids by the end of the year.

The building will replace the current 51-year-old facility on McDonald Avenue.

Walker said the city of Ruston is 100% committed to this project.

“We have about 40 other projects going on right now, and we want to make sure to do this right, “ Walker said.

Emory echoed the mayor’s concerns of spreading construction projects too thin.

“Right now, the focus is on completing the sports complex, and the animal shelter is next,” Emory said.