The Southeastern Kentucky Baptist Hospital, formerly known as the Corbin Municipal Hospital, was located in Corbin, Kentucky.
The hospital was constructed in 1951 1 15 and expanded with medical offices that were constructed later across the street. A major expansion in the mid-1970’s doubled the facility’s size. In 1984, Corbin Municipal relocated to a larger campus on US 25W.2
Larry Jeffries purchased the former hospital from Southeastern Kentucky Rehabilitation Industries (SEKRI) in September 1999,12although Jeffries was later arrested after approaching various city officials for a place to stay. He posted bond on May 6, 2004, and was not seen since, and later discovered to be a fugitive.12
Between May and June 2002, Harlan County businessman Otis Hensley had been negotiating with Jeffries through a third-party to buy the property.12 In March 2003, Otis Hensley entered into a “gentlemens contract,” an announcement of intent to purchase the former Southeastern Kentucky Baptist Hospital from Taylor, but no deed was signed.6 Under Hensley’s plan, he would renovate the hospital for professional office and medical use.6 12 Hensley’s unsuccessful bid to run for governor in 2003, however, sapped his funding for the hospital.7
In June 2002, Corbin businessman Bob Taylor purchased the site for $1,000.6 7 But Taylor and two others, Danny and Pearly Partin, were cited by state inspectors in February 2004 after they were caught removing copper pipe from the building which had stirred up asbestos fibers.9 The hospital was then condemned by the city 10 later raided for copper by Danny Pearl in April 2004.11
The former Corbin hospital and five acres of land were sold for a mere $20,000 to the Kentucky Communities Economic Opportunity Council (KCEOC) Community Action Partnership Inc in June 2005 8 with the intent to redevelop the site for housing. On July 6, Baptist Healthcare, the former tenant of the hospital, donated an additional ten acres surrounding the building to the city of Corbin. On August 30, the Corbin City Commission voted for City Attorney Bob Hammons to draw up a lawsuit against the former owners of the property and the hospital for violating city ordinances, but information regarding the owners was vague at best.7 The city and state had earlier issued notices and citations against the owners for removing pipe and copper from the former hospital and were in discussions to levy fines.
On September 26, 2007, Governor Ernie Fletcher signed a $500,000 ceremonial check that was presented to the KCEOC for demolition of the hospital.3 4 Two additional grants covered the cost of demolition, $440,000 from the federal Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and $60,000 from the Governor’s Office of Local Development. This was the accumulation of efforts over the years to demolish the vacant 12-acre property in a residential neighborhood.
Demolition was scheduled to begin in October with asbestos abatement and the removal of underground fuel storage tanks with a total project cost of $646,250. Micro-Analytics of Louisville was awarded a contract for asbestos removal, but no work had been completed because the demolition bid had not been awarded.13 There were areas in the building that required selective demolition work before asbestos could be removed. On February 23, 2008, Gateway Environmental Services of Highland, Illinois was selected to demolish the hospital with a bid of $227,500, the lowest of the bids to be presented to the Kentucky Communities Economic Opportunity Council.13 Abatement of asbestos began on May 12, with structural demolition starting on May 26.14
A 48-unit condominium complex with a playground, clubhouse and restaurant was once slated to be built in the place of the old hospital,3 4 but no work has been completed.