Animal shelter completion moved to February

Published 8:29 am Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Completion of the Vicksburg Animal Shelter has been pushed back to February.

Community Development Director Jeff Richardson told the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at its Friday meeting that the completion date was moved back from January to mid-February during discussion about a change order request from contractor Fordice Construction to upgrade a circuit for the dryer at the shelter.

Richardson said after the meeting the opening date has been delayed by change orders on the project.

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“Each change order added a couple of days,” he said, pointing to the change order the board approved Friday, “The architect did not put in the right line voltage and fuse box for the dryer we specified.”

Richardson said Fordice Construction is continuing to work on the shelter’s interior and completed the major construction.

“The city still has to do the site work and public works is handling that,” he said. “A sanitary (sewer) pump station is being put in.”

Natural gas for the shelter is provided by Port Gibson’s gas service, Richardson said, adding he will have to call to learn when Port Gibson’s workers will come to tap into the shelter’s gas line. Interim Public Works Director Dane Lovell said the city has installed water service to the building.

The shelter’s construction and pending completion marks the end of a multi-year search for a new animal shelter. The current shelter is more than 50 years old and sits on a tract of land on Old Mill Road adjacent to the Vicksburg Fire Department’s training center in the Kings community.

The present shelter is in a flood zone and subject to being surrounded by flash flooding. It was threatened by the 2019 flood and animals had to be evacuated in the 2011 flood. City officials considered several potential sites, including city property in a section of Cedar Hill Cemetery off Sky Farm Avenue.

On Feb. 21, 2020, Flaggs, other city officials and city resident Marilyn Terry, who provided a recommendation for a shelter building, toured the former U.S. Rubber Reclaiming plant off U.S. 61 South, which is owned by the city and located in a flood zone, and a site in the 2100 block of Oak Street, south of Depot Street.

Problems with the Oak Street property forced city officials to remove the site from consideration. The board also considered a 14.3-acre tract at 4211 Rifle Range Road owned by Cappaert Holdings LLP, but the city said it could not afford the $1.5 million to buy the land and build the shelter.

The board in September 2020 accepted the donation of property and a metal building at 4845 U.S. 61 South from the Ernest Thomas family as the site for a new shelter.

The board signed a contract with Fordice to build the new shelter in February.

Fordice was the low bidder on the project with a bid of $1,263,700. The bid included one alternate, or extra project, to install lights for the shelter’s parking lot for $10,800. Flaggs said when the bids were open in January that the total cost for the project will be about $1.3 million, which included the project engineer’s cost. That cost is separate from the construction bid, he said.

The budget for the project was $1.67 million.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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