Commissioners approve opening of bids for renovations to Human Services Building and Wellness Clinic

ASHEBORO — The Randolph County Board of Commissioners met Monday, June 5, with multiple property matters on the agenda.

The board first approved a waiver of the American Healthcare Systems annual debt with regard to the Rural Healthcare Stabilization loan from UNC Health.

“The terms of the agreement we have with the state are pretty well fixed,” said Assistant County Manager Will Massie. “We owe $1 million a year plus 1% interest. The way the pass-through agreement with the hospital read was that the board would consider the compliance with the terms of the contract.”

The board had initially expressed concerns with the way AHS’ administration had been operating in conjunction with Randolph Health, but after improvements were made to transparency and regulations, the board was satisfied.

“The spirit and intent, I think, has been met,” said Commissioner David Allen. “We want to see everybody succeed. Based on our last meeting, where it was very much the spirit and intent to have a functioning board, I think the spirit of intent has been met with all these requirements.”

The money obtained from the loan is intended strictly for capital purchase and can not be used for daily operations.

The board also approved the final design of the Human Services Building in Archdale from Smith Sinnett Architecture and opened the project up for bids.

The renovations in the base bid involve improvements to the upper level, including 24 private offices – 19 for DSS and five for DPH – a secure DPH suite, shared reception and waiting area, dedicated public restroom, large DSS work room, and shared break room and conference room.

If the base bids come in and funding for alternates is still available, the plan also includes potential options for renovations of the lower level, including 25 additional DSS offices, a break room, a conference room, and a small work area.

The estimated budget cost for the base bid renovations is $1,508,150, the alternate option for renovation to the lower level is $1,043,150, and an alternate option for parking lot seal coat and striping is $25,000, for a total projected construction cost of $2,576,300.

“We think this is a good building to reuse for the purposes,” said Robert Carmac of Smith Sinnett Architecture. “We’ve tried to maximize every possible way. We have strived to find every way in this building to drive the cost down. To reuse, to maximize this building as an asset.”

The project is projected to begin in August or September with an 8-12 month timeline for construction.

Along with the DHS building renovations, the final design of the Wellness Clinic at Northgate was also approved and opened up for bids.

The renovation plan includes an additional five exam rooms, an overflow room, two offices, secure reception and waiting area, supply storage, pharmacy storage, a dedicated lab, a drug screening toilet in lab and a separate public restroom.

According to the plan by SmithSinnett, construction is projected to start in August with a 5-6 month completion window.

“I think it looks like a good location for this,” said Commissioner Hope Haywood. “I think in the long run it’s going to save us dollars, and I think the payoff will be to the benefit of our employees’ health and wellbeing.”

The board then held a public hearing about a potential economic development partnership for the Seagrove I-74 Truckstop, Pump Station and Force Main.

“Love’s Truck Stop has shown interest in this location, however, due to the sewer capacity at Seagrove, they’ve been unable to commit to the site,” said Paxton Arthurs. “If the proposed pump station can be routed to the Uwharrie Pump Station, which is supposed to be sent to Asheboro, then they’ve agreed to move forward with the project.”

Along with the sewer agreement, the proposal also includes an agreement from the county to fund $300,000 of the $800,000 projected total cost for the project through state-issued ARPA funds.

Following the hearing, the board approved the request.

The second hearing was for the county to act to approve the NC Railroad Grant for Ace Avant.

“In addition to supporting our existing industries throughout Randolph County by showing our appreciation for those industries and their commitment to our community, providing workforce development programs, and attracting and recruiting new industry to create jobs and spread that tax base, the EDC is also tasked with identifying potential development of industrial sites and buildings throughout Randolph County for the purposes of attracting new companies to our community,” said EDC Business Recruitment Director Crystal Gettys “The Highway 311 South site consists of 67.6 acres owned by Ace Avant and is already zoned Industrial Use with a potential of being rail served.

“The North Carolina Railroad Grant is a performance-based grant, and so the property must ultimately be conveyed to an industrial rail user. If the property is sold to a non-rail user, the grant provisions require the repayment of all or a portion of the grant.”

However, Ace Avant has already agreed to be responsible for any paybacks should the sale not go through to a rail user.

With that stipulation, the board agreed to grant the grant following the hearing.

The Randolph County Board of Commissioners will next meet July 10.

By Ryan Henkel, North State Journal