[Baltimore Sun] Additional funding approved for Carroll’s new family shelter in Westminster

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The cost for design and engineering work for the new family shelter in Carroll County has increased from the original contracted amount of $263,898. The Board of Carroll County Commissioners at their meeting Thursday unanimously approved an additional $30,560 for the project, at the request of the county’s Bureau of Building Construction.

The bureau has been collaborating with the Carroll County Department of Citizen Services on the design and construction of a new family shelter space at 115 Stoner Ave. in Westminster. The shelter is now known as COVE — Center for Opportunity, Value and Empowerment.

The money will go toward services that should have been included in the original contract, signed with Murphy & Dittenhafer, a Pennsylvania-based architectural firm.

Dean Leister, project manager with the county’s Bureau of Building Construction, said the Maryland Shelter and Transitional Housing Facilities Capital Grant Program requires that cost estimates are provided at four intervals during the engineering process. Those cost estimates were not included in the original contract.

“So that’s why we’re here to request approval to put it back in the contract,” he said. “It was not included in the original contract.”

In February 2023, commissioners unanimously approved a $1.5 million loan from the grant program to put toward the relocation and renovation of the county’s family shelter in Westminster.

The current family shelter is located at 10 Distillery Drive in Westminster. In 2021, the county purchased the Penn-Mar Organization building, at 115 Stoner Ave., in Westminster, for $1.3 million for a new family shelter. The building will also have space for the county’s Citizen Services and the Bureau of Aging and Disabilities departments.

The current shelter is about 6,000 square feet. Department of Citizen Services has estimated that between 8,000 and 9,000 square feet could be used at the Penn-Mar building, which is 16,264 square feet on a 2.96-acre lot.

The exact number of families that the new location could accommodate would be determined once the design and engineering phase of the project is complete. It is estimated that nine or 10 families could be accommodated in the new shelter.

Construction of the new shelter is slated for fiscal 2025. The total estimated cost of the project is $5.5 million.

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