When Guilford County contracted with Samet Corp. to conduct the demolition of the old county jail in downtown Greensboro and the construction of a new Guilford County Sheriff’s Department administrative building in its place, the whole thing ended as a giant $20 million trainwreck, one of the biggest debacles in the history of Guilford County government.

It was also a giant mystery since the county blames Samet and Samet blames the county and neither side is willing to publicly reveal the whole story.

However, that’s old news now.  The new news is that Guilford County is ready to move on, and, to that end, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners is expected to approve a contract with a new Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) to handle the project.  The item is on the agenda for the board’s Thursday, July 13 meeting.

A joint venture of Frank L. Blum Construction and W.C. Construction is the winner of the contract that previously totaled over $20 million.

Blum is a century-old firm headquartered in Winston-Salem with a presence in Greensboro.

Blum and WC Construction have a 7-year track record of joint-venture projects. WC Construction, one of the state’s largest African American firms, is also headquartered in Winston-Salem.

The new cost of the project is yet to be announced; however, the county is paying $92,400 to enter into a preconstruction contract with the joint venture in order to explore the way forward.

After killing the Samet deal earlier this year, Guilford County re-advertised the project on April 18 to complete the Sheriff’s Office Building project.  It’s a three-phase project and Samet had just about finished Phase One when the sky fell in earlier this year.

Qualification packages were received on May 9 from three firms: Blum – WC Construction Joint Venture; Shelco, LLC; and Batson-Cook Company.

The three firms were interviewed by a panel consisting of facilities, budget, inspections, MWBE and sheriff’s staff. It was the unanimous decision of the review panel that the Blum-WC Construction Joint Venture was the most qualified to handle the job.