County to Build New Horse Barn

Written by Estero Bay News

March 26, 2023

San Luis Obispo County recently completed a new animal services shelter and office building to accommodate the usual small animals it takes in and adopts back out.

Now it’s time to do something for the bigger animals they occasionally take in.

Supervisors recently approved the 10th change order on the new Department of Animal Services HQ, adding in provisions to have the contractors construct a new equestrian (horse) barn and accompanying corrals.

Change order No. 10 would add some $298,000 to the over $15.28 million construction contract for F&H Construction of Lodi bringing the overall DAS building contract up to $15.83M.

The previous nine change orders had added over $550,000 to the project, which is located on County-owned land at the end of Oklahoma Avenue, just down the way from the old DAS shelter.

The Supervisors were also asked to release some $781,800 (5%) of the original contract that was being held back. F&H’s deal was for a design-build contract meaning the company both designed and built the new facility, which opened last September.

The project has taken several years to get done. Built in 1975 on an old circa-1940s U.S. Army and Camp San Luis Obispo landfill, DAS had made some improvements to the structure over the years to keep it going. But in April 2015, County Supervisors decided to go ahead and replace the building instead of keep pouring money into it. A year later, the board authorized that a new DAS building be built using the relatively new design-build method of delivery.

Doing the project required first that all the various agencies that contract with the County for animal services agree to a funding scheme. Every city in SLO County contracts with DAS to enforce laws pertaining to the welfare and treatment of animals — both pets and livestock.

The agencies will split the costs for the new shelter based on how many calls for service they have on an annual basis. County Supervisors agreed to take on more of the burden after Paso Robles and Atascadero hesitated to participate in the new shelter, first wanting to explore how much it would cost to provide the same services. Eventually, after Supervisors agreed to take on more of the debt, the two towns signed on to the agreement and the project was allowed to move forward.

In December 2019, F&H was awarded the D-B contract and it was substantially completed last August. DAS moved in last September and the grand opening was held soon after.

Under its original contract F&H had listed a new equestrian barn as one of three potential additions it could do if funding was available. The initial construction contract was actually completed under budget and some of that extra money will go towards the equestrian barn.

The barn is needed to properly house the livestock — mostly horses — that are occasionally taken in by the County.

The new shelter includes some long walking paths that meander across the meadow at the site, where volunteers work with the dogs that come in preparing them to be adopted out.

The County has already ironed out the scope of work and the schedule with F&H on the equestrian barn that will include “site grading, concrete mat slab, pipe rail fencing, a 4-stall equestrian barn, and minor site improvements. With this change order, the total contingency used on the project will be 5.5% of the contract value, which is within what is expected in a design-build contract,” reads the County’s report on the matter.

The DAS building is the latest of several big projects the County has undertaken out there over the past several years. They’ve also expanded and remodeled the Juvenile Services Center; built a new Women’s Jail and Jail Medical Facility; and a new 1.2-megawatt, 6-acre, solar farm was also built out there next to the new DAS building.

The solar farm will help lower electricity costs for a dozen County facilities — Maintenance Bldg. 1200; the Main, West and Women’s Jails; Juvenile Hall; jail trailer (a medical facility); Honor Farm; Sheriff’s Detective and Storage Buildings; the fleet garage; Information Services; Emergency Operations Center; and Department of Animal Services.

The County had also built a safe parking lot for homeless people who stay in RVs or vehicles on a vacant lot next to the old DAS building, but the County is now planning to phase out that facility.

F&H has some 250 days to complete the new equestrian barn facility.

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