Officials move closer to new courthouse

County commissioners will soon choose the companies that’ll manage the future construction of the new courthouse.

Officials move closer to new courthouse
August 02
10:58 2018

County commissioners will soon choose the companies that’ll manage the future construction of the new courthouse.

This week, commissioners are meeting with representatives from the companies that submitted proposals for the project, which has a $120 million budget. The issue is tentatively scheduled to be discussed in their briefings on August 16 and 30 with a vote to choose construction managers on Sept. 6.

The new courthouse is planned as two five-story buildings joined by a pedestrian bridge. One building will be for court facilities that’ll be built in a vacant lot beside the Government Center on Chestnut Street and the other will be an office building across the street. A parking deck will also be built on the other side of the neighboring Wells Fargo deck.

Commissioners discussed replacing the aging Hall of Justice for more than a decade before finally voting to do so last year. The county hired CJMW Architecture to design the new buildings and construction is planned to begin in fall of 2019.

County Commissioner Chairman Dave Plyler said he was “cautiously optimistic” the new courthouse will move faster than the renovated Central Library, which was funded by a 2010 library bond but didn’t open until last year.

“I hope we don’t look at this and it’s still being discussed in the year 2029 or 2028 because that would be a disservice to the people of Forsyth County and an embarrassment to this board and, from my perspective, totally unnecessary,” said Plyler.

The county has three proposals for the project, each submitted by two companies who are partnering on the project. The county will be picking one of the teams to be construction managers at risk, which means they will evaluate the site, estimate construction costs, seek preliminary subcontractor bids and then submit a Guaranteed Maximum Price. If the county accepts that price, then those companies will complete the construction on the project and will be responsible for any cost overruns. If the county rejected the submitted price, then it could bid out the project to other companies. 

This was a request for qualifications, so each team has already made extensive presentations on why they’re best suited for the project to a committee made of county staff and stakeholders. A majority of that committee recommended Whiting-Turner Contracting, which is teamed with Holt Brothers Construction, but the commissioners will have the final say.

Whiting-Turner, a Maryland-based company founded in 1909, is one of the nation’s largest construction management and general contracting companies. Holt Brothers is a Raleigh-based minority-owned company, which was founded in 2007 by N.C. State and NFL football stars Terrence and Torry Holt. Whiting-Turner has an extensive portfolio of projects around the country and Holt Brothers’ projects include Raleigh’s Union Station and Central Communication Center and renovations to the Durham County Library and Judicial Building.

The other two teams are Frank L. Blum Construction Co. teamed with Barnhill Contracting Company and Samet Corporation teamed with Balfour Beatty Construction.

Blum is a local company with an extensive portfolio including the Central Library, Gateway YWCA, the ARTivity on the Green park and Well Fargo’s Linden Center. Barnhill is based in Rocky Hill and its many projects include the Raleigh Convention Center and Wake County Justice Center.

Samet is a Greensboro-based company founded in 1961 whose projects include the VA Healthcare Center in Fayetteville, Elon University’s Admissions Welcome Center and Greensboro Day School.  Balfour Beatty is a Texas-based subsidiary of an English company whose projects include Winston-Salem State’s Covington Hall and North Carolina Central’s School of Nursing building.

Several local subcontractors who worked with Samet spoke praising the company during the last public comment session held by commissioners. This caught the attention of Commissioner Everette Witherspoon, who thought they should consider Samet.

“I’m very impressed with a lot of the testimonies,” he said.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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