In 2024, the Guilford County commissioners are all about addressing the problem of homelessness as well as those issues that constitute the root causes of homelessness – such as drug abuse.

So, it’s fitting that, at the board’s first meeting of the year – on Thursday, Jan. 4 – the commissioners will take a big step in that direction.

In summer of 2023, the Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of a former nursing home at 1411 Lee’s Chapel Road in Greensboro to use it as a “Residential Recovery Center” for county residents with drug problems.

The commissioners want the center operational as soon as possible. However, the building needs renovation and modification in order to comply with the licensing requirements of the NC Department of Health And Human Services.

 In addition to those changes needed to meet state requirements, the facility’s future service provider has also requested modifications that the county intends to make.

At the first Board of Commissioners meeting of the year, the board is scheduled to approve the renovation project.

Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston has been pressing staff hard to move quickly on this and related matters so that’s exactly what’s happening.

An agenda item for the January 4 meeting states that, “Due to the needs of the community, the Board of Commissioners has expressed a desire to complete this work in the most timely fashion. Therefore, staff have evaluated the procurement options for the design and construction needed to accomplish the facility modifications. We conclude that the Design-Build method of procurement would best serve the County’s needs for this work.”

Under the Design-Build method, a single contractor handles both the design and construction or renovation of a facility.

In order to use that method, state law requires that the project meet certain criteria. Staff has gone through that checklist and arrived at the conclusion that Design-Build falls in accordance with state law in this case and is the preferred method to use.

The building sits on 3.8 acres of land that the county also bought as part of the deal.  The county paid nearly $3.5 million for the facility and the land.