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New target opening date set for Converse animal shelter

May 28, 2019

Converse animal lovers will have to wait a few more weeks before they get to tour and use the city’s first-ever Animal Care and Control facility.

Converse City Council heard from Mark Wohlfarth, owner of the Sabinal Group, the construction firm building the 9,178-square-foot facility, at its May 21 meeting. After reviewing some of the past issues and remaining work, Wohlfarth gave the city a new target opening date of June 17.

The animal care facility was one of four buildings that Converse voters approved in a November 2015 bond issue, along with a new city hall, new fire station, and a library extension. The shelter, at FM1516 and Upper Seguin Road, is the only structure yet to open.

When construction began the city spoke of a January 2019 completion date. That date came and went, Mayor Al Suarez said, replaced by statements of mid-March and mid-May.

“When I’m out in the public, I’ve gotten bombarded with requests, ‘What happened to our animal shelter?’” Suarez said. “We had to bring you guys in so we could explain where we’re at, and what’s going on with the facility.”

Wohlfarth said bad weather, Texas Department of Transportation’s expansion of FM 1516 alongside the property, and issues with the original site plan contributed to the delays.

“We had a change order for a lift station and other change orders. And it’s been raining off and on for the last four months, and it’s just killing our site,” Wohlfarth said.

The construction firm owner counted off the remaining work, including sidewalks and paving, and gave time allotments for each.

“So within the next three weeks, that site … will be 100 percent. And that would take us to June 17,” Wohlfarth said. “Obviously it’s all contingent on rain.”

City Manager Le Ann Piatt told council that the city has already hired its facility manager and confirmed that “the building is 99.9 percent complete, with a few little touch-ups.”

The city has already ordered furniture for the facility.

Suarez reiterated that the city has no issues with the quality of work with the three other structures, all completed by Sabinal.

“We can work with that (June 17). It’s just the delays and timing that we’ve had to deal with,” the mayor said.

Piatt said the city wants to move in and become operational before scheduling and hosting a grand opening. “We want animals in there, so people can take them home with them,” she said.

jflinn@express-news.net

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