Vandals Damage Building Being Renovated For Drug Treatment Center

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Vandals break-in and heavily damage an old Pike County school building being renovated into a WestCare Women's Drug Treatment Center. WestCare directors say it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair the damage.

WestCare directors say this is a major setback for the future women's drug treatment center. Investigators say it appears the vandals wanted copper and did whatever they could to get all of it.

"A few months back, it was picture perfect," said Chris Abshire, WestCare Maintenance.

But now WestCare's Chris Abshire sees a much different picture inside the old lookout school building.

"You can see we got a good mess right here," Abshire said.

WestCare is renovating the school into a women's drug treatment center. Abshire says vandals are destroying their work.

"As you can see, they've done quite a bit of damage," he said.

He believes copper theft was the motive. He says they took out the air conditioner units to break-in, and then took out ceiling tiles, all of the breaker boxes, electrical wires, phone lines and water lines.

"Just anything with copper in it, they've got," Abshire said.

Now WestCare must replace and repair it all.

"The cost to repair that is just going to be astronomical," said Erdil Looney, Eastern Kentucky WestCare Director.

Looney estimates it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix the damage and replace all the wires and plumbing, and it's money they don't have. Coal severance funds and grant money are paying for the one million dollar renovation and there is none left.

"It's really sad," Looney said.

He says this could delay the center.

"Absolutely, definitely sets us back," Looney said.

But WestCare is determined to keep going.

WestCare directors say sheriff deputies are patrolling more around the building. They ask if anyone has any information or sees anything suspicious there to call either the sheriff's office or police.

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