Buildings to be deemed "unfit for human inhabitation" unless Knoxville College completes repairs

Sept. 16, 2016: The college has 90 days to complete repairs to buildings or else it will be labeled as unfit for human occupancy.

KNOXVILLE - Knoxville College has 90 days to make repairs to two of its buildings, or else they will be deemed unfit for human occupancy. 

The 141-year-old historically black college helped educate students when other schools would not, but in recent years it has faced an uphill battle.

The newest stumbling block is a repair order by the city of Knoxville.

“They were given a 90-day repair order, and in those 90 days we would expect them to engage an architect to identify the deficiencies in the buildings and provide construction drawings and get permits to perform the repairs,” said Peter Ahrens with city inspections.

Boarded up windows, shattered glass and no students make the campus a ghost town. Students haven’t been there since 2015.

The repair order singles out the library building and chapel and confirmed an earlier violation of the science building.

RELATED: Knoxville College buildings condemned

Inspections cite problems like leaks, cracks, peeling paint, fire alarm systems and rodents.

The school’s first major problem began in 1997 when it lost its accreditation. Years that followed brought closed buildings and the loss of students.

In June 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency removed thousands of bottles of hazardous chemicals from the abandoned science building.

Fall brought a brief bright spot when the school won a grant of $50,000 dollars from Home Depot for repairs.

In May 2015, the school graduated 3 students, only to be followed with the suspension of all its classes.

Several months ago, in April, arsonists lit fires inside campus buildings.

RELATED: Alumni react to Knoxville College arsons

Administrators told WBIR 10news in May that they still planned to re-open the school. It's unclear how these newest challenges will affect those dreams.

"If they fail to make any corrections by the end of the 90 days then we will placard it as unfit for human occupancy," said Ahrens.

Friday night, WBIR 10news reached out to college officials, and haven't heard back yet on their plans.

When we've previously spoken with school leaders, they always said their dream is to open the college back up.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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