Construction for the Leflore County Humane Society’s new animal shelter should begin in June if all goes according to plan.
“I can’t wait for a new one to open,” said Aubrey Whittington, president of the Humane Society.
The 6,200-square-foot facility will be located on a 4.25-acre tract of land at the end of Cypress Avenue, near Baldwin Road. The land in the Greenwood-Leflore Industrial Park was donated by the city of Greenwood and Leflore County.
A groundbreaking ceremony had been held in January 2017.
Construction has been slowed, however, by the heavy rains in recent weeks. Whittington, in a presentation last week to the Greenwood Rotary Club, said that extensive dirt work has to be done at the site before the foundation can be poured.
“It’s an expensive thing. We have to wait for the water level to go down,” she said.
The existing soil, she said, is gumbo, which expands when wet and contracts when dry, making it unsuitable as a base for new construction. She said you can’t building anything on gumbo “because the foundation will crack.”
Whittington said the gumbo will have to be dug out 5 feet deep and replaced with good soil.
“If we’ve got a good foundation, I think the building will go fast,” she said.
The new shelter is expected to better meet the demands of the more than 150 animals for which the Humane Society regularly cares.
The current shelter, located on Ione Street, is in decrepit shape.
“It’s very old. It was built in 1970. It’s falling apart. It’s just so small and crowded,” Whittington said. “It’s just seen its day.”
In addition to the pens for the animals, the new shelter will include space for a lobby for educational purposes, a separate intake and outtake center to prevent animals ready for adoption from getting infected by stray animals that have just arrived, and a quiet room for mother animals to watch their litters.
The capacity of the new shelter will be the same as the old one, Whittington said, “but the animals will have more room.”
Whittington also said the plumbing for the new shelter will be more efficient.
The projected cost of the shelter is more than $800,000. Whittington said that the Humane Society still could use donations for the project as well as for its ongoing operation.
• Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.