WilCo approves funds for prep work on animal shelter


Early next year, construction should be starting at Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter. The shelter plans a 20,000-square-foot expansion of nearly $10 million. Last week, commissioners voted in favor of  spending up to $20,000 with Balcones Geotechnical Engineering of Austin for prep work. 

In September, Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey and other shelter directors on the board voted to go ahead with a plan that will more than double space at the facility. A Houston-based Jackson & Ryan architecture firm is designing the addition, with Austin-based Vaughn Construction overseeing the work. According to Covey, the building should be complete by next fall.

The current 15,000- square-foot shelter holds 85 dog and 93 cat kennels. Upon completion of the project, the new shelter will total 36,000 square feet and include space for 170 dog and 186 cat kennels. 

The no-kill shelter, which opened in 2007, received funds from Williamson County, Cedar Park, Leander, Hutto and Round Rock to help them renovate the  existing building, as well as to build a brand new structure. Williamson County is taking over about 49 percent of the costs. Round Rock will take on 27 percent, Cedar Park 10 percent, Leander 9 percent and Hutto 5 percent.

According to Cheryl Schneider, the shelter’s director of animal services, the existing facility has been overcrowded since it opened. 

“Every single room in the building is used as an animal care space,” Schneider told the Hill Country News in October.

The expansion will be done in two phases so it can remain operational at all times. The new building will be completed before renovations will take place at the existing location.

Williamson County is the shelter’s lead partner due to animals from unincorporated parts of the county accounting for about 50 percent of the shelter’s dog and cat population.