Dorchester County Puts Strategic Plan Into Action

Dorchester County Puts Strategic Plan Into Action

Community With Rural and Urban Areas

A Strategic Plan To Address Needs Equitably

Job Order Contracting To Accelerate Progress

Dorchester County, South Carolina is known for winding rivers, scenic walking trails, a booming local arts scene and historic sites that pre-date America’s founding. Approximately 161,000 residents in this close-knit, Lowcountry community rely on the county for a variety of needs, everything from marriage licenses and mosquito control to water and sewer utilities and social services. In order to continue meeting evolving and diverse community needs well into the future, Dorchester County leaders developed a new Strategic Plan in 2019.

Challenge: Dorchester County Seeks to Deliver for the Community

One major pillar of the Strategic Plan is to provide equitable delivery of county services. Dorchester County is a mix of open, rural areas and densely populated urban spaces, and county leaders wanted to deliver a consistent standard of service to all citizens, regardless of where they choose to live. Another pillar of the Plan is to elevate health and wellness countywide, for both the benefit of residents and the long-term viability of the county.

To support these pillars, the county identified strategies that were both sensible and creative. These strategies included consolidating resources so residents in outlying areas can receive multiple services in one location and putting said consolidated resources on bus routes and/or other areas with ample access via public transportation.

Fulfilling these promises to the community would not be easy. It would require acting fast to acquire properties that would fit the bill – large enough to house multiple services and along public transportation lines – and quickly renovating those properties for optimal use. Dorchester County recently closed on the perfect property for its initiatives and county leaders have chosen to leverage an innovative construction project delivery method to alter the facility to meet community needs.

Solution: The Perfect Property and the Perfect Project Delivery Method

In September of 2022, Dorchester County closed on a vacant former grocery store near the town of Summerville. The 47,000 square foot space will be converted into the consolidated Dorchester County Health and Human Services Campus. This multipurpose facility will house the local arm of South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Department of Social Services and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The transformation of this space will increase access to services and elevate health for Dorchester County residents and tangibly advance the county’s Strategic Plan. It will be a physical testament to county leaders making good on their commitment to improve the community.

“Dorchester County has been steadily advancing its facilities master plan and related strategic plan goals since 2019,” explained Daniel T. Prentice, Dorchester Deputy County Administrator.  “Since the old Bi-Lo grocery store near Summerville closed many years ago, I always thought the building would be a good spot for consolidated delivery of certain services. This project is really bringing us full circle to turn the location into a permanent hub.”

Since making good on its promises to the community quickly is of vital importance to the county, decision-makers turned to Gordian’s Job Order Contracting (JOC) to accelerate renovations. A single-solicitation construction project delivery method, JOC enables project owners to complete many projects using one competitively awarded contract. This unique process leads to faster project starts and a lighter administrative burden for public sector professionals. In fact, Ph.D. researchers found that Job Order Contracting projects begin 25% faster than projects that use traditional procurement methods like Design-Bid-Build and Design-Build.

The decision to use Job Order Contracting for this critical project will empower county leaders to deliver meaningful outcomes for their community.