Water damages Stivers Center

Although it is still closed, the Stivers Aquatic and Wellness center remains in the news. Center Board chairman Randell Young reported that last week the sprinkler system in the building went off one evening, for no apparent reason. The center sustained some water damage, and some flooding of electrical equipment as a result of the water from the sprinkler incident. The Center’s board met on March 7 to formally discuss the issue, along with provide an update on Union College’s USDA loan.

The sprinkler system company has been contacted to fix the system, and Young says the cost of the electrical and other repairs at the center should be covered by insurance. At the Wednesday meeting, the board said the insurance company and adjusters have been to the Center to assess damages. Among the items needing replaced are a breaker box, panel and wiring. It should take approximately two weeks for the damages to be fixed.

Also, Union College President Marcia Hawkins announced that the USDA loan the college was seeking to buy the center “has been officially approved.” Hawkins expects the closing to occur later this month, around the 19th or 20th, based on her conversation with USDA personnel.

Two weeks ago, the Stiver’s Center Board citied lack of qualified management as the reason they closed Knox County’s $7 million aquatic facility.  But, according to multiple sources, disputes over money, and lots of it, may have played a big role too. 

The money trail, while complex, appears to indicate there is still approximately a million dollars of debt associated with the center, even though the initial plan called for the center to have paid off all its obligations by now.

The Mountain Advocate submitted a request for copies of the minutes of Stivers Center Board meetings and its financial reports back on Feb. 16th.  The documents were requested in accordance with Kentucky’s Freedom of Information laws. The center has provided some financial records and one set of minutes so far, and has promised to comply with the request to provide all documents soon. According to Young, attorney Ashlee Valentine, will be “hand delivering the documents,” to the Advocate.