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Animal Shelter Cost to Exceed $1 Million

The price is several hundred thousand dollars more than originally expected.

The cost to build a new animal shelter in Attleboro will be pricier than city officials had expected. Building Commission Chair Jack Jacobi told the City Council on Tuesday that he and his fellow commissioners spoke with three potential architects recently, and all said in separate conversations it would cost in excess of $1 million to build the 3,600-square-foot building. 

Jacobi said city officials thought the cost would be $600,000 to $700,000.

"We all fell out of our chairs," said Jacobi about the reaction from commissioners upon hearing that the price would be $295 to $300 per square foot, as opposed to $200 he said municipal building projects usually cost.

Jacobi said state regulations, including the  prevailing wage law that sets minimum wages for workers, makes the price much higher than it could be. City Councilor Peter Blais said the price for this project could be cut by one third if not for these regulations.

"We've got to get some legislation passed in this state so we don't have to spend those kinds of dollars … on a small project … This is a prime example where government is hurting us as a town or city," said Blais in a loud manner. 

The city needs a new shelter because the current one, opened in 1980, is considered by many people to be too small and not an adequate place to provide proper care for the animals.

Mayor Kevin Dumas wrote in  that he would make a request during the 2012-13 fiscal year to borrow money to fund the project.

The council's capital improvements committee voted Tuesday in favor of spending $50,000 to design the shelter. The full council will vote next week. The firm selected to create the design is Connecticut-based  Design Learned, which specializes in animal facility engineering.

Jacobi told the council that if all goes well, the new facility could open next summer.

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