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Commissioners hear progress reports on proposed workforce development center, animal care facility

Proposed Bexar County Workforce Development Center at Brooks
Bexar County
Artist rendering of proposed Bexar County Workforce Development Center at Brooks.

Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai said he wants to review the level of interest among advanced manufacturers for a proposed county workforce development center at Brooks.

The planned center, which was backed by the previous county court, including former county judge Nelson Wolff, would support the county's growing advanced manufacturing base by training workers.

But with a price tag of at least $20 million, Sakai and County Commissioner Grant Moody questioned whether the center would not be redundant because of local training programs already available.

The workforce development center is coming out of the design phase.

Sakai spoke at Tuesday's commissioners meeting. "I understand this was Judge Wolff's but I'm the county judge," he said, "and I need to do due diligence before I am prepared to vote up or down."

Sakai directed county staffers to inform the general contractor of the center of his intent but said his review would not violate the county's contract with them.

The local advanced manufacturing industry includes Toyota, Navastar, and most recently UK-based JCB, a maker of farming, industrial, and construction machinery.

JCB plans a facility near Toyota on the South Side that will open in 2028 and hire 1,500 workers.

In other action on Tuesday, commissioners voted to move forward on the construction of a new animal care facility in Far West Bexar County. 

The county's existing animal care facility in Kirby on the East Side has reached capacity with no room to expand.

Commissioners approved nearly $3.4 million to increase capacity at the new proposed facility off Cagnon Road for kennels to house 96 dogs.

There has already been debate over controlling construction costs at the site.

But Precinct 1 County Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores said it's time to act to reduce the county's loose dog and dog bite problems. "Unfortunately, this past year there have been a couple of deaths and some serious tasks," she said.

County Manager David Smith told commissioners the Alamo Ranch area is now the source of the majority of dog complaints in the county.

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