UNCSA selects local companies as construction management for Stevens Center renovation

UNCSA has announced the selection of Winston-Salem-based Frank L. Blum Construction Company-W.C. Construction Company (Blum-W.C. Construction) as construction manager for phase 1 of the renovation of the historic Stevens Center. The team was selected through a qualifications-based process and approved by the UNCSA Board of Trustees on July 20.

Blum-W.C. Construction will provide preconstruction services and construction management for phase 1, which includes renovating the building’s envelope; addressing accessibility repairs; and upgrades related to water intrusion, HVAC, and fire suppression systems. The team will also work closely with the architects and engineers to provide a construction perspective and expertise to the design process.

Stevens Center

In April, the UNCSA Board of Trustees approved the nationally recognized firms Little Diversified Architectural Consulting, based in Charlotte, and Steinberg Hart, based in Los Angeles, as the design team.

“We’re pleased to be taking the next steps toward the much-anticipated renovation of our Stevens Center, which is critical to our mission and the cultural and economic development of Winston-Salem and the Piedmont Triad,” said UNCSA Chancellor Brian Cole. “The Blum-W.C. Construction team has a proven track record of successfully delivering historic preservation and state construction projects in North Carolina. In addition to being incredibly qualified, the team has successfully delivered some of the most iconic buildings in our community. And the team’s offices are less than three miles from the Stevens Center.”

Among the local public projects the Blum-W.C. Construction team has worked on are the Forsyth County Public Library, the Kaleideum Children’s Museum and Science Center, improvements to Bowman-Gray Stadium, and the Easton Elementary School renovation and expansion. Blum also worked on the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts and First Baptist Church on Fifth Street in Winston-Salem and the Carolina Theatre of Greensboro. The Blum-W.C. team has completed more than 550 construction management projects totaling more than $1.4 billion in the last 10 years.

“As construction manager, Blum-W.C. Construction will work closely with UNCSA Facilities Management, the designers and the other project consultants as an integral part of the project team to deliver the best long-term value for the university,” said Blum Vice President Mark Dunnagan. “Through our history we have constructed numerous performance and large gathering venues. This experience allows us to leverage lessons learned regarding acoustics, seating, and many other specifications that benefit UNCSA.

“Our local presence, our experience delivering quality projects across the Triad, and the team we have assembled uniquely position us to successfully deliver the Stevens Center renovation project.”

W.C. Construction Company Founder and President William Cockerham said, “Blum-W.C. Construction wants to be inclusive of the individuals that reflect the communities in which we live and work. We have a long-standing commitment to maximizing Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) participation in all of our projects, and we recognize the importance UNCSA places on employing minority and women-owned businesses. We will ensure that small, minority, disadvantaged and women-owned businesses have maximum opportunity to participate in the performance of contracts undertaken by our team.”

The renovation

A preliminary concept master plan, developed in 2017 by Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) and DLR Group, in consultation with members of the Winston-Salem community as well as faculty, staff and students, laid the groundwork for a renovation to upgrade and enhance the patron experience and student learning outcomes provided at the Stevens Center. UNCSA will continue to seek input from the Winston-Salem community and the partner organizations who utilize the Stevens Center.

Blum-W.C. Construction will help determine the current cost and phasing strategy to maximize the $29.8 million appropriation in the North Carolina state budget, approved in November 2021, for phase 1 of the renovation of the building. UNCSA will continue to seek a combination of public and private funding for this and future phases.

The Stevens Center will remain online and open for rehearsals and performances at least through the 2022-23 season. Advance planning, including matching the scope of work to the preliminary budget, will begin immediately and should be completed by the end of September. Next, the design development phase will take 12-14 months. Construction will follow and is expected to take 18-24 months, during which time the building is expected to go dark. Information about alternate venues for the affected UNCSA performance season, community programs and partner organizations during the time that the Stevens Center is offline will be announced at a later date.

The Stevens Center

At 1,300 seats, the Stevens Center serves as the largest learning laboratory and primary performance venue for UNCSA, an economic driver for downtown Winston-Salem, and a cultural destination for both residents and visitors. Originally a 1929 silent movie theater, the Carolina Theatre, this neoclassical building was renovated with a stage and backstage that was able to accommodate Broadway-scale performances of live music, theater, dance and opera. In 1983, it was renamed for theater producer Roger L. Stevens and reopened with a star-studded gala featuring Leonard Bernstein, Isaac Stern, Agnes de Mille, Gregory Peck and many others.

The Frank L. Blum Construction Company was the general contractor for the early 1980s renovation of what is now the Stevens Center.

About Frank L. Blum Construction Company

Established in 1923, Frank L. Blum Construction Company has been a trusted building partner to owners in North Carolina and Virginia for nearly a century. The firm has a solid reputation for weathering the most challenging economies, partnering with the most exacting owners, and excelling at the most complex projects. Many distinctive and beloved buildings bear the Blum Construction imprint of fine craftsmanship on the original structure or its subsequent renovation or restoration.

About W.C. Construction Company

W.C. Construction Company, LLC, is composed of knowledgeable professionals with more than 40 years of combined experience within the construction workforce. They are highly regarded for their advanced level of professionalism, integrity and innovation. A minority-owned, HUB-certified firm, W.C. Construction is focused on providing general contracting, construction management and design-build services in areas of new building construction, additions, renovation and land development. The company has been in business for 16 years.

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August 12, 2022