Vince Alexander

After delays in the construction of a new Butler County animal shelter, construction crews are on-site and ready to begin the project off Princeton Road in Hamilton.

In 2006, voters passed a $3.4 million tax levy to build the shelter. However Meg Stephenson, executive director of Animal Friends Humane Society, said several factors contributed to the delay.

“Bids to architects took a while; the original drafts came in over budget, and awaiting permits set us back on construction,” Stephenson said. 

According to architect Robert Treadon, original bids were over budget by $1.4 million, followed by the second drafts that came in $1 million over budget. However, Stephenson said plans were recently approved after being inspected by Hamilton city council.

“It took three drafts to come in just under budget,” Stephenson said.

According to Stephenson, the new facilities will be extremely different from the 50-year-old center, located on Hamilton-Trenton Road.

“The new facilities will have much better air ventilation systems that will produce higher quality air and reduce airborn illnesses,” Stephenson said. “It will also be equipped with isolation areas for sickness.”

The new center will also have up-to-date technology.

“We know so much more about animal thriving than we did 50 years ago, when our current building was built,” Stephenson said. “Our new facilities will be much more current with what we know today.”

According to Stephenson, the new center will house cat condos with much larger spaces for perching. She also said there would be two fenced-in courtyards for exercise, including indoor and outdoor kennels, and a veterinary clinic on-site with x-ray machines and two operating tables.

“The new center is much needed,” Stephenson said. “Our staff is extremely excited to have the new facility and be able to provide for more animals in a larger and healthier environment.”  

Stephenson said they are currently working with Butler County Officials and architects to follow the planning.

“We are hoping (to be) up and running within the next year,” Stephenson said. “We have been working closely to get the ball running, but at this time, it is out of our hands.”