The leader of the construction-management team for Macomb County’s $230-million jail overhaul said the project’s relatively tight schedule will provide “a major challenge” to those working on it.
Granger Construction Co., based in Lansing, was unanimously approved by the county Board of Commissioners last week to oversee the construction of the central intake and assessment center and related work, at a cost of an estimated $9 million over the span of the project. The board OK’d an initial expenditure of $271,000 for pre-construction services.
Jeff Havranek, Granger’s regional manager for Southeast Michigan, acknowledged he and other employees have a lot of work ahead of them to comply with the schedule to commit $130 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars by Dec. 31, 2024 for the project and spend them by Dec. 31, 2026.
“Looking at the schedule, that’s a major challenge here,” Havranek told the board. “In order to start that work, there’s a lot of demolition and abatement as well as utility rerouting that needs to take place to make it work ready.
“There’s going to be a lot of factors to pull together with our stakeholders to make sure we have alignment.”
Andy Fountain, a vice president at Plante Moran Realpoint, which is the project manager, said the pre-construction phase should be completed in one year; subcontract work will be presented to the board for approval over several months next year.
The challenge will be made more difficult by supply-chain issues, and material and labor shortages. But Havranek said company officials will identify tasks to start working on immediately.
“There are components of the project we would definitely be targeting for early procurement,” he said.
He cited as examples a 1- to 1-½-year delay in delivery of generators that will be needed and long time frames in acquiring other things such as “low voltage switch gear,” audio and visual equipment, and electronic security and detention equipment.
As far as labor goes, he said he is confident the company will be able to hire a sufficient number of subcontractors to do the work since the company has a wealth of experience in construction in Michigan and surrounding areas, and has worked with 1,000 subcontractors in the Detroit area.
“We have extensive trade relationships in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties,” he said.
He said he expects most of the subcontractors will be from the tri-county area, some purchases, such as “detention equipment” and “security electronics” likely will have to come from national companies due to their specialized nature.
Because ARPA dollars will be used, subcontractors will have to be paid the “prevailing wage” whether union or non-union, he said.
Havranek touted several ongoing projects by Granger, including three major projects in Ohio, a $300 million project in Indiana as well as projects at Oakland University in Rochester Hills and Auburn Hills, Michigan State University in East Lansing and Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti.
Granger was the construction manager for renovation of a facility for the Caro Psychiatric Hospital in the Thumb that was completed earlier this year. That project has some similarities to the Macomb’s jail project due to its focus on mental-health facilities for inmates.
.Havrenek tried to allay concerns from Brown that the company would be distracted from the Macomb project by its other projects.
“We’re not over-committed,” he said. “This (project) fits perfectly in our wheelhouse. We’ve been targeting this project for the past several years.”
The company’s $9 million deal with the county is based on a percentage of the 134 “hard construction cost,” said Chief Deputy County Executive Mark Deldin.
Though the company is based in Lansing, it has an office in Novi and will set up a temporary office at the jail site at Groesbeck Highway and Elizabeth Road in Mount Clemens for the project, Havranek said.
Eight full-time employees will be devoted to the project along with other employees who will come and go, he said.
Deldin described the process of selecting Granger. After a request for proposals were sent out in early September, eight firms showed up for a Sept. 21 mandatory meeting. The county then received three proposals on Oct. 5, but one of them bowed out. Granger was chosen in October by an interview team from the final two bidders.
“It was overwhelming, it was a consensus of the interview team to recommend to this board that we bring Granger Construction management on board to move this project forward,” Deldin said.
Commissioner Joe Sabatini of Macomb Township told Havranek his company appears to be a “perfect fit” for the project.
“You seem to be the perfect fit for this project based on the projects you’ve done in the past,” Sabatini said. “For his type of project, you hae a great grasp of it.”
Over the project’s execution, the board will be kept apprised of developments with a “dashboard” created by the Mark Hackel administration that will be updated monthly for the board and quarterly in-person updates at meetings “so all the commissioners can keep a pulse of what’s going on up there,” Deldin said.
Although the construction phase is a year away, Fountain of Plante Moran and Deldin said the board will be presented with approvals for expenditures over the next year, such as bid packages for various things.
Commissioner James Perna expressed concern about “a tremendous amount of (cost) overruns” if project managers encounter problems with labor or other matters..
But Fountain reminded him that the project’s price tag includes a $35-million contingency for overruns, money that can be returned to the county if not used.
Plante Moran, the project manager, will be paid $4.8 million while the design firm, Partners in Architecture, will be paid $10.4 million and Metro Technology Services IT will be paid $1, based on contracts approved by the board last month.
The project includes construction of a 177,000 square-foot, four-level building, of which three floors would be for a central-intake center, mental health and detox beds, a small courtroom and offices, and one floor would provide additional beds for the general population. Set for demolition is 78,000-square-feet of existing structures and renovation of 28,000-square-feet of the facility. The jail tower, including sheriff’s offices on the ground floor, would remain, although one or two of the tower floors would close.
The jail’s capacity would go from 1,034 to 1,218 beds to bring it back to near a level in the recent past, with a potential to go up to 1,438 if needed. The population last month was over 800.
Discussions for a new jail have been going on for nearly 20 years, with intensity picking up the past several years. A plan in 2020 to place a 0.64 mill proposal on the 2020 election ballot to pay for a $300 million new jail was nixed after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
The jail was built piecemeal beginning in the 1950s and often requires millions of dollars a year in repair and maintenance costs.