By Alex Cooze
CHATTANOOGA (UTC)–With the recent partnership with Erlanger, UTC Health Services will be relocating from their current location in the Metro Annex building to Erlanger Hospital. With this move, more options and services will be available for students. This is a win-win scenario for Health Services and UTC students.
However, what will come of the building once Health Services leaves?
Currently, the only residents of the Metro Annex building are the UTC Television Studio, the Gear Up program, and UTC’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program. UTC actually has begun renovations to the Metro building next door, and originally planned for the Metro Annex to be included in the bid.
The bid, however, came back too high. According to Jim Pulliam, UTC’s safety officer and member of the facilities board, the bid would cost too much to bring the Metro Annex building up to modern code.
“Building codes change over time, and older buildings are typically grandfathered in. However, when you do renovations to at least 51% of the building, the older buildings must be brought up to code,” said Pulliam.
If the Metro Annex building had been included, that would have meant the Annex had to be brought up to code. Jim Pulliam believes there are no current ecological code violations such as mold, although there has been some similar code violations in the past. The current violations involve hallways which are too narrow, no fire sprinkler system, and not enough restrooms.
Since the renovations were too expensive, Facilities personnel now plan to demolish the flat roofed portion of the Metro Annex building as soon as money is funded. Because of UTC’s investment in the Television Studio in the building, the pointed roofed part of the building will be spared. Facilities officials plan to use the demolished space for more parking.
The demolition will wipe out all of the Health Services area as well as the downstairs portion containing the Gear Up offices. Hunter Huckabay, director of Gear Up, has been in contact with Facilities about the possible move of his program. “Facilities has treated us well. I would prefer to stay at the Metro Annex, because we like it here,” says Huckabay. Huckabay has mentioned if a move is required, he wouldn’t mind relocating to the Stagmeier building.
Money is still an issue. According to Pulliam, it could be as early as this fall, or even be a few years down the road before this demolition will occur. He stresses, however, that no one should move into the vacant Health Services area due to possible roof leaks that commonly occur in the area.
Facilities did go on record to say that this project is first on their list.