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Bowman Gray renovation in Winston-Salem takes step forward
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Bowman Gray renovation in Winston-Salem takes step forward

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A massive renovation at Bowman Gray Stadium took a step forward on Monday as the Finance Committee of the Winston-Salem City Council voted unanimously to recommend a joint venture between two companies to do the work.

The $9 million project will include regrading the football field and installing an irrigation system, resurfacing the race track and building two new restrooms and concession stands. The heating and air conditioning in the field house will be replaced and new flooring installed in the corridor leading to the Winston-Salem State University Athletics Department office suite.

Frank L. Blum Construction Co. and W.C. Construction, operating as a joint venture, will do the project for a guaranteed maximum price of $8,037,942.

The city council is expected to act on the contract on Monday.

Blum has a 65% stake in the joint venture, city officials said Monday, while W.C. Construction, a minority-owned business, has a 35% stake in the project.

The maximum price means that the city will not be required to pay more than that amount unless the city and the contractors agree to do so.

But if the price comes in under the bid amount, more options emerge: While the companies and the city could decide to split the savings, a savings would also give the city the option of doing additional work, said Assistant City Manager Ben Rowe.

Additional items could include canopies at the three entrances to the stadium to provide cover for the ticket booths, a new heating and air-conditioning system for the West Press Box, a new videoboard, parking bumpers for the east parking lot and removable signage with banner attachments.

Blum and W.C. Construction have also agreed to subcontract 16.5% of the project to minority-owned companies and 19% to women-owned companies.

North Ward Council Member D.D. Adams complained that the city is still not providing as much business as it should to companies that are owned by "Black and brown" residents. Nonetheless, Adams joined the three other members of the finance committee — Robert Clark, Jeff MacIntosh and James Taylor — to give the project a unanimous endorsement.

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Bowman Gray Stadium is home to both Winston-Salem Speedway Inc. and the football program at WSSU. NASCAR-sanctioned auto racing takes place in the stadium from April until August, and WSSU plays home football games there in the fall.

In 2013, the city approved the sale of the stadium to WSSU, but delays in getting state approval led the university in 2018 to abandon attempts to acquire the stadium. Subsequently, the city developed plans for the $9 million renovation.

In September 2019, the city awarded a design contract to Walter Robbs Callahan & Pierce Architects, and in November 2019 the city picked Blum for pre-construction services.

In addition to the approximately $8 million in construction costs, the project includes $710,000 in design costs $237,400 in contingency and $129,000 in other project costs.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has put a crimp in a lot of business activities, it is actually making it easier for the city to proceed with renovations at a time the stadium is not being used.

Rowe said Blum is prepared to start mobilizing for construction as early as November with work on the restrooms and concession stands. Work on the football field would be going on in the spring, and the entire renovation could be finished by early 2022, in advance of the 2022 NASCAR racing season.

In other action, the city Finance Committee recommended that the council award a contract to Garanco., Inc. for the first phase of improvements at Long Creek Park, which the city bought in 2017 with the help of The Conservation Fund.

The property is the former Long Creek Golf Course off Bethania-Tobaccoville Road.

Garanco, a company based in Mount Airy, is doing the project at a cost of $1.5 million. The project is being paid for from the 2018 bonds approved by voters in a referendum.

The improvements planned for the first phase include a market shelter, a pool bathhouse with an expanded concrete pool deck, concrete walks, fencing, stairs and other improvements including a 91-space parking lot and repaving of the existing access drive.

Finance also recommended that Bar Construction Co. of Greensboro get a playground renovation contract for Brushy Fork and Winston Lake parks, at a cost of $700,000, and that Magnolia Construction LLC get the contract to renovate Russell Community Center at a cost of about $710,000.




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