For centuries people have been singing about London Bridge coming down – however, there are likely to be no songs written about the old county building that’s set to come down in early 2023: the Old Guilford County Jail in downtown Greensboro.
When the giant, shiny new Guilford County Jail in Greensboro opened in 2012, county officials began planning to demolish the old jail, but it has had nine lives until now, when its storied history is about to come to an end.
About eight years ago, the county was planning to demolish the jail, however former Sheriff BJ Barnes instead put the building to use housing some Sheriff’s Department administrative offices and public-facing services.
When Guilford County officials first began discussing tearing down the old jail, the ballpark cost estimates came in at about $900,000 to $1 million. It turns out that, in 2023 – at a time when some cartons of eggs at Harris Teeter cost $9 – jail demolition costs are much higher too.
On Thursday, Dec. 15, Guilford County Facilities and Property Management Director Eric Hilton did not offer an estimate of the project cost, but he did say it would cost a whole lot more than $1 million. According to Hilton, when it comes to the construction and destruction of buildings these days, the costs bears no resemblance whatsoever to what they were five or 10 years ago.
Hilton said that the demolition and clearance of the land would make room for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department’s new administrative offices – a project that Sheriff Danny Rogers has been pushing hard for years. However, until now, other county projects have pushed the new headquarters aside.
The Sheriff’s Department’s current headquarters is disintegrating after years of problems over the years such as flooding, wood rot, sloping floors, rodent and snake infestation and – some even claim – a problem with ghosts haunting the place. The Otto Zenke building will be torn down to make room for a new parking lot to serve the new headquarters.