Kerr County lawmakers have identified four major long-range projects they hope to make some headway on in the next couple of years.

They include a new Kerr County Animal Services facility, as well as renovations to the Kerr County Courthouse square, the basement of the Kerr County Courthouse and the indoor arena at the Hill Country Youth Event Center. 

On Tuesday, Peter Lewis, the architect involved in the projects, gave the Kerr County Commissioners an overview of all four endeavors.

While none of the plans are final, commissioners are looking at options, and eventually plan to go out for bonds.

The workshop is one of several that are expected to be scheduled over the next several months to give commissioners time to hammer out the details and price tags so they can prioritize the projects accordingly.

The most expensive project is the new KCAS facility, which will replace the current facility built in the 1980s. 

“It’s not a priority we need immediately, but we need to start planning for it long-term,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Jonathan Letz.

There is an immediate need for more office space for the animal control officers, Letz said.

“They share desks, and it’s crowded,” he said. 

In the meantime, there are plans to transport a temporary office from River Star Arts and Event Park to the KCAS facility on Loop 534, Letz said.

Preliminary plans for the new facility include 54 kennels, walking paths, a separate area for stray and quarantined animals, a vet clinic, a large cat room and an area for people to take animals if they want one-on-one interaction. 

Each of the dog kennels have the capacity to house two 

dogs in case of inclement weather or other kinds of emergencies, Lewis said. 

The plan is to keep the facility where it is and for construction to be done in phases, he said. 

At build out, it could be almost 15,000 square feet.

Inspiration for the facility came after Lewis and other Kerr County representatives toured the Kendall County Animal Shelter. 

Kerr County’s facility will be larger, Lewis said.

During the workshop, Precinct 1 Commissioner Harley Belew asked if they considered making the facility two stories.

“I have nothing against the design, but it’s not a big space, so I’m thinking about building up instead of out,” he said. “And it would be even more visible with a second story.”

Lewis said they would loose efficiency if certain services are on a second floor. 

He also added that the main shelters need to be on the ground level, since that’s where most of the interaction with the public will be.

Additionally, putting in an elevator would add up to $100,000 to the project, which already comes with a projected price tag of $4.2 million. 

OTHER PROJECTS

The least expensive of the projects on the list is the renovations to the courthouse square. 

Potential improvements on the list include new landscaping, adding parking space, building a security wall and moving the Veterans Monument so that the chairs aren’t next to Earl Garrett Street.

People are suggesting moving the monument to allow more space and avoid noise from the road during events such as the Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, Letz said.

The projected cost is between $500,000 and $1 million. 

Renovations to the courthouse basement come with a price tag of a little more than $2 million.

The basement is home to departments including Human Resources and Victim Services, and the project would add privacy walls in the HR office and make it ADA accessible. 

Project plans for the inside arena at Hill Country Youth Event Center include adding showers to the bathrooms and installing insulation.

The projected price tag is about $2 million. 

During the meeting, commissioners talked about priorities and how they would go about footing the bill for the projects.

Instead of grouping the projects and presenting them to the public that way, Belew suggested presenting all four projects at once. 

“Decide what you want and let them know what we need and why,” he said. “It needs to be very buttoned down.”

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