Shovels will go into the dirt today, officially and ceremoniously breaking ground on the Corinne T. Smith Animal Center, 3016 Milam Dr.

“Eight years in the planning, this day has arrived at last,” said Randee “Rags” Green, chair for the “Raise the Woof” Capitol Campaign, started earlier this spring to raise approximately $300,000 to add to money already in place to build new and completely renovate the Corinne T. Smith Animal Center, formerly known as the Brown County Humane Society and Animal Center.

The groundbreaking ceremony is planned for 11:30 a.m. “sharp,” and will be at the center on Milam Drive. “We’ll be quick because of the heat, but that doesn’t make the day any less exciting,” said Green.

A “short” “Raise the Woof” committee meeting is planned after the groundbreaking ceremony, Green said, and final numbers of how much has been raised and a review of the commitments for the building will be available then.

“I’ve been out of town for a week, and I don’t have the final figures,” Green said.

When the campaign started, at least half of the $600,000 of what was estimated to cover the total cost was in place — money that had been bequeathed or already donated and also money the city had made available.

With an additional $100,000 from the City of Brownwood, $50,000 from a land sale and other allotments, “It’s very close to the $600,000 we needed,” Green said. But of course, in the meantime costs have gone up, she said, and items not originally figured into the cost have been added.

“It would be nice if we had $650,000 in place for the building and of course, the support for the operating costs for the shelter is ongoing and constant,” Green said.

“We will need more than the $600,000, but also there are several grants we don’t know about yet. Our fund-raising is ongoing,” Green said. Money for a $45,000 parking lot has not been allocated.

But Green said, the committee is to be commended for its hard work and dedication.

“So many have worked so hard for this day to finally be here,” she said. “It’s exciting.”