Delay at animal shelter could push construction back six weeks

Delay at animal shelter could push construction back six weeks

SCITUATE – Another delay in the bid deadline for the Scituate Animal Shelter addition may push construction back another six weeks, said Animal Shelter Building Committee member Johann Sparling.

Increased interest from bidders in the project caused the request for proposals deadline to be pushed back to Friday, Feb. 21, two weeks after the original date of Feb. 7, Sparling said.

After reviewing and selecting a contractor, the bid will still need to be approved by the Town Council before a contract can be drafted and signed. With budget season revving up and the council busy preparing, Sparling said it may take up to six weeks to begin work at the shelter.

“Even then, it’s winter. We’re dependent on the weather now,” Sparling said.

Though the foundation was poured at the site in November 2018, work has stalled amid the wait for finalized plans.

For Sparling, the essential aspect of the project is getting the shelter’s animals the space they need. While the expansion will house new offices, the space created by moving the offices from the main building will create a meet-and-greet area for the animals and make room for kittens and pregnant cats currently housed in a small water heater closet.

Similar to the situation at the Scituate Police Station project, plans for the animal shelter were approved in September 2018 and started by the former Town Council, but stopped when the four Independent Men were voted out two months later.

The new Republican council formed an Animal Shelter Building Committee in June of last year, and restarted the process.

Since then, Sparling’s husband, Peter Sparling, drafted and donated design plans for the shelter’s expansion, and paid for the costs associated with getting the plans approved by an engineer.

Despite rumors in town that the addition is running out of funding, Sparling said the committee has not had to use funding set aside by the town or the approximate $50,000 donated by a resident.

By her account, there is still more than $70,000 for the 30-foot by 30-foot expansion.

Council liaison Charles Collins said the project is on track to be completed as soon as possible. Any costs exceeding the budgeted amount will be fundraised, Collins said. He said the animal community is generous and he is confident that the committee will be able to raise the money.

He added that more competitive bidding will bring in tighter costs for the project, as well.

Collins is optimistic that bids will be competitive. Five potential bidders attended a Jan. 28 site visit at the shelter, with more requesting information on the project by phone. The committee used information from contractors to tighten up specifications on the HVAC units proposed at the site.

“We got more people coming in. We thought, let’s give this another week or two,” Collins said.

Peter Sparling said he was stunned by the interest in the project at the site meeting, and has answered specification questions for contractors following the visit.

“It’s been a labor of love,” he said.

The committee is focused on getting the most significant value on the project, he said, and not necessarily the lowest cost.