Nearly a year after the first attempt to build a new Guilford County Sheriff’s Department headquarters came to a screeching halt, the county is back on track with the project.

At a work session on Thursday, Feb. 1, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners approved a $26.7 million contract with Blum-WC – a joint venture between Winston-Salem based Blum Construction and Winston-Salem-based WC Construction.

Previously, the county had entered into a roughly $21 million contract with Samet Corp. to handle the project.  However, as Phase One of the three-phased project neared completion, the county commissioners killed the contract for reasons that remain to this day secret – but did involve a disagreement over MWBE participation in some way.

The new contract calls for the joint venture to complete construction of the new Law Enforcement Administration building for the Sheriff’s Department. Blum-WC will serve as the “Construction Manager at Risk.” That method costs more up front but limits the threat or major cost overruns for the county.

Before the building can begin, the joint venture will have to clear the land – something that Samet Corp. was getting ready to do when the county pulled the contract.

Blum-WC will now oversee the completion of the demolition of the old jail in downtown Greensboro, the construction of the new Law Enforcement Administration office and the removal of the current Otto Zenke Building.

The Zenke building has been the source of constant complaints over the years, including concerns over drastically sloping floors, flood damage, snake infestation and even some complaints that it’s haunted by one or more ghosts.

 The historic building will now be torn down to make room for a much needed parking lot.

The total budget for the new Law Enforcement Administration building project is $33.6 million. That’s a lot more than was originally planned, especially when one takes into account that the county already paid Samet Corp. for Phase One.

The project is being paid for by existing bond funds, balances from completed projects, and capital fund balance.

As the Construction Manager At Risk, Blum-WC has received more than 160 bids for work on the project.