County to get new domestic violence shelter

Victims of domestic violence will have a larger facility next summer.

The Henry County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution awarding a bid to construct a new facility for Haven House, a domestic violence, emergency shelter. The approval came during the board's regular meeting on Monday.

The new shelter will replace the existing one, which was built more than 100 years ago, said Marjorie Lacy, Haven House executive director. It will have the capacity to handle between 40 and 50 people, compared to the 18 to 20 people the shelter assists now, said Lacy.

The new facility will be 15,500 square feet, said Ronald Burckhalter, Henry County Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST)/Capitol Projects director.

The county received 18 bids for the work, and chose the lowest bidder, Classic Plains Construction, based in Marietta. It will be built at a cost of $1,286,900, which means the project could come in under budget, Burckhalter told county commissioners. "The total budget is $2 million," he said, and will be taken from the county's SPLOST III budget.

"It's going to have two wings, one for adult, single women, who come in with no children," said Lacy. "We'll be able to have 12 singles, and we'll be able to have eight families. We currently only have four singles, and room for four or five families."

The present shelter is sometimes overcrowded, she said. "Our capacity is 18, officially, [but] we often have to do 20, because there's such a need," said Lacy. "We frequently rent motel rooms to take the overage."

In addition to the two residential wings, the facility will have an additional wing for staff, said Burckhalter. Construction is expected to begin by early August, and should take 12 months to complete, he said.

Lacy said it has not known, at this point, what will happen to the current facility, when the new building is completed. "I would be surprised if it didn't get knocked down; it's in really bad shape," she said.

Lacy reiterated that the new shelter will boost the county's capacity to help women and children in need. "It's going to help so much," she said. "It's going to be a much nicer place for them to go."

District IV County Commissioner Reid Bowman said the bids provided by the 18 vendors gave the county a broad choice in selecting a company to do the work.

The next-lowest bid, provided by Headley Construction Corp. in Newnan, was $1,316,000.

"I don't know anything about Classic Plains [the lowest bidder], however, I do know the majority of the other bidders," said Bowman, who owns a Stockbridge construction company. "Headley Construction was the company that built the first recreation center for District IV. Headley's been around for an awfully long time, which makes that low number look a little better. I get a little concerned when somebody I've never heard of can [bid] that low."

Classic Plains made changes to the original design of the building, which saves construction costs, Bowman said. "He's done a good job of it," he added. "The things that weren't needed, he's cut out some of the bells and whistles, and you can see it in the numbers. It reflects in the numbers."