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Construction underway to fix UPike's newest facility

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - University of Pikeville officials say more than $30 million was spent on the new Coal Building and now a major construction project is underway to correct a code violation.

The Coal Building has been open for less than one year but officials say it is already undergoing major construction. The University's Vice President of Finance and Business, Doug Lange says, "We are in a project to reconfigure our two large lecture halls that we use as classrooms for our med students."

The smaller lecture hall has never been used and the larger lecture hall was briefly used at limited capacity until code evaluations found the building was in violation of the Kentucky State Building Code.

Lange says, "As soon as we found out we were in violation of code, we moved the students to another location."

While officials say they did not anticipate this construction project, they say everyone is giving their best effort to quickly and efficiently fix the problem so the building can adequately serve students.

Lange explains, "Most of the construction is being done by hand, we are working from the outside in, and the equipment is having to go in by a forklift and the scaffoling up to the 2nd floor. We can't use the elevatiors, and we have isolated the floors for security. It is a very labor intensive process."

Officials say balconies are being added to the lecture halls to increase the floor space. Lange says, "We believe the architects made an error when designing the building, they will argue differently."

WYMT put a call in with CMW Architects in Lexington and it was not returned.

Lange says, "We are currently in a legal arbitration as required by our contract."

Officials say the price tag of this project is $2.3 million and the lecture halls will be ready for students by July 15th.

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