Wednesday, May 13, 2020

UMC Closes Lakeland Courthouse

UMC is closing the Lakeland Courthouse:


Dear valued University Wellness Center member,

I regret to inform you that University Wellness Center Flowood will not reopen and will permanently cease operations, effective immediately.

Like other health care institutions worldwide, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, which owns and operates UWC, has felt a sizable negative financial impact due to the lead up and ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical Center leadership has for weeks been evaluating ways to mitigate this impact and must make difficult decisions to do so.

Permanently closing UWC is a necessary measure as revenue from membership dues and rental fees are not sufficient to cover operating costs and needed facility and equipment upgrades. 

Active UWC staff members were informed this morning that the center will not reopen and they have been encouraged to apply for open positions for which they qualify within the Medical Center.

We will be issuing pro-rated refunds for March membership dues.  Monthly membership dues were not drafted for April and May while the facility was closed to curb the spread of COVID-19. Any dues or fees already paid to UWC for annual memberships, including for rental lockers, personal training or swim lessons, will also be refunded.  Refunds will be issued within 45 days.

Members with personal belongings still in a rented locker will be contacted so arrangements can be made for those items to be picked up.

Kingfish note: More proof of Kevin Cook's incompetence. 

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

UMMC should have never purchased this facility to begin with. I bet it has lost money since day one.

Anonymous said...

Not to worry - Their 'grant enthusiasts' (that's a job title) will find a way for taxpayers to bail them out of this business loss.

Anonymous said...

Amen, UMMC should have never bought the facility to start with. There is a need and a want for gyms in the area. Clean that place up and make it what it once was!

Anonymous said...

Take a cue from Denver and turn all this dead real estate into legal herb operations.

Chris said...

What happens with swim teams?

End of an error said...

The Black family should be ashamed of the scam they pulled off pawning this sinking ship off to UMC for tax credits and their name on the side of a building at the university

Anonymous said...

I thought this was closed 2 years ago. Seems like the virus is a convenient excuse to put the nail in the coffin.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Cook is a legend in his own mind. In all other's, he's and idiot.

Anonymous said...

I guess Johnny Black is the only winner in this fiasco.

Anonymous said...

just another abandoned building in rankin county...starting to look a lot like west jackson out there..

Anonymous said...

Shad White needs to investigate the 'donation' of the Courthouse to UMMC in the first place. What a sham. I hate for anyone to lose their jobs, but, this should have never been allowed to happen.

Anonymous said...

Can’t believe it lasted this long. What a scam by the Blacks and UMMC!

Anonymous said...

Just think.

If Johnny Black wouldn't have said he wanted to consolidate Canton schools with Madison, he might be a member of the state legislature right now!

Anonymous said...

The Johnny Black family should kick in some of the profits they made from this shady deal to cover the long-term employees' salaries. I was always so happy to be greeted by the older gentleman who had been there forever, and I hate to think of him without a job with all this craziness going on.

Anonymous said...

11:45 AM So true. Major bullet dodged.

Anonymous said...

"Discussions are ongoing to allow a swim team that practices at the UWC pool to be allowed to do so until they are able to find another location, UMMC officials said."

Anonymous said...

The men that run the swim program do a great job. Perhaps they can buy at least part of the facility?

Anonymous said...

What has happened to the Aquatic Center that Ridgeland was going to build? I thought the Legislature approved a bond issue for this project three years ago. This facility will be needed very badly with the closure of the Flowood Courthouse.

Anonymous said...

I love this a little too much. Covid-19...what an excuse. This place was a sinking ship once Johnny Black placed 2 idiot control freaks under his power.

Anonymous said...

@1:13 pm quoted "a swim team," clearly Makos......

"be allowed to do so until they are able to find another location, UMMC officials said." I wonder if the UMMC folks realize that if held to this quote, Makos will be there indefinitely, as there are no other locations.

Look for Milsaps and Makos to "buy" the UWC in Flowood. Milsaps' swim team practices there. Makos should be large enough to (no pun intended) float it.

Of course, nothing can happen until the restrictions are lifted on practices/competition.

Kingfish said...

Millsaps probably don't have cash to do it and is struggling. This virus crap going to really hurt small private colleges.

Pool has a very expensive leak as well.

This also means no basketball left in the Jackson area.

Anonymous said...

I remember the days when the "Center Director" would spend all day traveling from one facility to another to have meetings about how they are going to "change Mississippi" with the UMMC Next Steps program. Yeah.. Ok... got any water to sell me? Can I get my wife and kid a job where I work also?

Kingfish said...

The place started going down years ago when Paul LaCoste and that idiot now ex-wife of his ran off the best manager the place ever had.

Anonymous said...

Paul was certainly a problem, but who let him in the door to begin the unraveling-Johnny Black. The place seemed to just be a way to finance Johnny and his sister's lifestyle at the end. Say what you will about Johnny Black Sr., but, he didn't run the place into the ground. His 'donation' to UMMC was a last ditch effort to get his kids out of a jam. It's sad how awesome the place used to be and what it has become. Had some great memories as a kid swimming in the NE Jackson CH pool, later working at the Madison one as a teen, and later working out as an adult at the various locations. The downfall of the Courthouse should be studied as a case study at Millsaps, should they make it out of the COVID 19 crisis.

Anonymous said...

I feel like Wayne did more damage than Paul. Wayne snaked his way through the ranks and dragging his two female minions behind him (Heather and Kristen) while trying to make the business more than it was ever going to be. It's a fitness center. Don't reinvent the wheel here. Time and money were lost trying to do more while dismissing the current paying members and shedding the staff that made it the best gym around. All gone because of Johnny and Wayne.

Anonymous said...

@1:57 Makos doesn’t have the funds to buy this facility. It’s rare for large teams to own/operate their own pools. Much less a team of Makos size (even though they’re one of the largest in the state). Fees are also ridiculously low for swim team kids in MS. You add people leaving over lost jobs etc and you can bet they’re in no position to purchase this place.

Chad said...

Here’s the scary thing for swim parents. The YMCA isn’t I great financial shape, either. After the PEAQ issue and now Makos having facility issues, you are down to Sunkist being the only secure team. But they aren’t. I expect the YMCA will go the route of the Courthouse.

Ridgeland needs to get an aquatic center going ASAP. They do not need the $33 million one that was proposed. Tupelo spent $10 million and its an incredible facility.

Anonymous said...

Not defending any management at UMMC however James (Jimmy) Keaton struck the deal for the acquisition of these facilities.Same fraternity back in the day? Can’t remember if Dan Jones was the chancellor or Vitter.

Kingfish said...

No, what they need to do is pair up with a school district. It divides the costs among several parties such as the swim teams, city, and school districts.

Why should MCSD freeload off of a city taking the financial risk to build one?

Kingfish said...

I mean racquetball. Damn autocorrect.

Anonymous said...

" I thought this was closed 2 years ago."
May 13, 2020 at 10:37 AM

Same here 10:37.

Seems this started around the same time as a the River Hills tennis drama.

I couldn't keep up with it, and didn't even care.

(Kind of like my Grandmother trying to explain two of her soap operas at one).



Anonymous said...

One facility for all of the teams (year round/club teams) and high school's that have swim teams. If they all bear the burden, it won't be so bad. New facility could be built in 12-18 months. Tupelo has about 15M in its facility now after the post-construction upgrades to parking and the HVAC system.

Anonymous said...

The metro area is just a few steps behind the city of Jackson.Nothing nice that requires a large number of decent people will make it any where near Jackson.

Anonymous said...

Your phone auto-corrected 'racquetball' to 'basketball'? You better check ITS temperature.

Anonymous said...

If the pool is not in good shape, it may be time to build a new facility altogether. If the rest of the building wasn't such a dump, it wouldn't be such of an issue.

Anonymous said...

Get your facts straight. The Black family gave UMMC almost $11 million and all the real estate, equipment, etc to UMMC. It was a gift. There was no profit. Later that year the legislature cut reimbursement to UMMC by 35 million. Ultimately that is why they were not able to fund the transformation of the facilities.

Anonymous said...

Didn't a local wether dude . . . (excuse me, Chief Meteorologist) . . . show his ass at a swim meet out there a few years ago ?

Anonymous said...

"If the pool is not in good shape, it may be time to build a new facility altogether. If the rest of the building wasn't such a dump, it wouldn't be such of an issue."
May 13, 2020 at 4:40 PM

Pool's fine. "Expensive leak", when translated from Idiotspeak (the language of the morons who've been running the place into the ground), actually means, "Needs attention from a competent expert."

The building is not that bad, either. It's the ONLY facility in the metro, where, if there's an obnoxious situation in one room, you can go to another room, to finish your workout. That's HUGE, in Mississippi, where there are so many obnoxious people being loud and/or threatening. It's the only facility in the metro, where loud, lame music isn't being blasted in every corner of the place. It's got the best weightroom in the metro, as well as the best pool. Yes, it's a bit worn, but all that space means easy "social distancing".

And if a competent manager were to insist that cleaners actually do their damn jobs, and if he were to maybe listen to some of the architects, interior designers, developers, and building contractors who were MEMBERS (instead of looking at them like they were idiots), the place would quickly stop looking "worn". Lots of smart people who CARED, were, instead, ALIENATED.

As it was, members, tired of nonsensical responses from management, silently-&-secretly DONATED various odds and ends, and silently scrubbed decades-old grime that had accumulated in one spot or another. It's bizarre that multimillionaires had to secretly do the jobs of the janitorial services. But that's how it WAS - since about the time they ran-off Candy (an excellent Manager, about two decades back.

Kingfish said...

Not true. http://kingfish1935.blogspot.com/2015/11/fitness-lady-gone-jj-reviews-ummc.html

Blacks gifted nearly $5 million. Then agreed to pay half a million a year for ten years. We are around 5 years into that term. UMC paid off a $9.2 million note.

Keaton and Black II were college frat buds.

Anonymous said...

Such a shame... Best gym in town imho. Loved that you could lift weights in like 5 different rooms throughout the facility. Each room having its own ambiance. Hopefully the state-mandated capacity restriction won't affect my (surely smaller) new gym too much

Madison Rulz said...

Can't believe UMMC is getting out of a business that's in their strike zone. Maybe they can buy a roofing company or a tire store to fill the hole in their WTF lineup.

Madison Rulz said...

This:

The building is not that bad, either. It's the ONLY facility in the metro, where, if there's an obnoxious situation in one room, you can go to another room, to finish your workout.

One of the most astute things I've ever read in JJ comments. Not that it's a high bar.

Anonymous said...

COVID will be the perfect excuse for poor management of many companies. Within just weeks of COVID many large companies started whining about not paying rent or bills due to the virus.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Cook stopped the bleeding.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of UMMC... would love to see their full detailed budget posted here complete with individual salary information for every employee. You all would be shocked at how much some people there are paid. Have fun trying to get that public info. They don’t like people poking around...

Anonymous said...

Ok so my point is still the same. The blacks gave/giving ummc 10 million to buy for 9.2 and now ummc has 10.5 worth of real estate that they don’t have to pay property taxes on. That adds up to about a 11 million gift to me.

Unknown said...

The hospitals and their systems jumped on the wellness train and bought health clubs and gyms. The previous owners have NOTHING to do with it. Every hospital in town bought health clubs.

Anonymous said...

Really Johnny...err I mean 9:13pm? You are saying that piece of property is worth $10.5 million? Holy shit....I have some land to sell to you!

Kingfish said...

A couple of years ago I got the financial reports. The courthouses at the time were losing alot of money.

Of course, UMC spent money renovating the clubs that were leased so when they closed them, the money was lost and didn't renovate the ones they owned so they could have gotten that money back in a sale if they had sold them. Brilliant.

Word on the street is a proposal was given to UMC this morning. Interested party wanted to buy Flowood and Brandon. Had financing in place. UMC wouldnt' even negotiate and instead announced the closure.

By the way, Walter found out he lost his job AFTER UMC posted the announcement on Facebook this morning and notified the swim team yesterday. Poor man was in tears.

Anonymous said...

So St. D has a health club, and Baptist, and Merit?

The public hospital needs to invest in washer/dryer locations, yogurt shops; convenience stores and gas stations. Then they should try roofing materials and dollar stores.

Madison Rulz said...

Calling a health club 'wellness' and saying it's part of healthcare is BS. Anyone who buys that does no critical thinking. By that reasoning hospitals could buy stock in Beyond Meat, open a farmers market, a vitamin store, smoothie shops and all kinds of other stuff. Stay in your lane.

And we're not talking about slapping a health club next to your parking garage, which, who cares? We're talking about buying huge buildings with pools that were already struggling and crashing them into the ground. It was stupid, everyone said it. I'm sure it was said in the comments on this site.

You know what I've never said at the gym? "This is like going to the doctor."

Anonymous said...

@5:47 and 6:44, amen, it still had than late 70s early 80s health club feel. Some people hate that and want that big, dumb, obnoxious CrossFit single room thing, (looking at you Club 24/7, I used to be a member of a club, now it’s a fitness mart) I don’t.

Anonymous said...

That breaks my heart about Walter. What a wonderful human. He would be an asset at any company.

Anonymous said...

At 10:31-This is not Johnny, but I am a close friend who is tired of reading disparaging posts by people who really don”t know what they are talking about or have a personal vendetta. I do know there were three separate appraisals done of ALL the property owned by The Courthouse and if UMMC were to turn around and sell it for even half of what it’s worth they could make another 5 million on top of the 10 already given. So whether you “think” it’s worth 10.5 million or not really doesn’t matter. It’s real estate and real estate has value.

Anonymous said...

9:44am, you obviously aren't in real estate and are just buying the cover bullshit fed to you by your admitted friend.

How many people think appraisals, by hand picked, "friendly" appraisers are anywhere close to the reality of what the actual sale price will be? Neither building is worth a dime for anything other than what they are. They will have to be demolished and pools filled in and/or millions in renovations just to make the properties usable for other purposes, which believe it or not can actually be more expensive than just demolishing and building anew. Hence, the buyers for these properties are greatly limited in number, even more so than normal. If they sale for a combined $6 million, I will be shocked and immediately seek out that buyer for some limited use properties I have.

You sound about as blinded by friendship as the shady Doc who set this up with his old frat buddy. I would guess you were a Phi Delt with young Johnny. Neither I nor anyone else gives one shit if you are sick of hearing about the truth or not. Shady shit went down and your buddy robbed a hospital.

Anonymous said...

Those pools cost a fortune to operate. Lifeguards, chemicals etc.

Anonymous said...

Attn 11:28 Thank you for that deeply thought out and insightful comment. Hotty Toddy!

Anonymous said...

At 9:48 Ok so explain exactly how they "robbed" the hospital? This is more of the ridiculous jealous BS I'm talking about.

Anonymous said...

Nurses at UMMC are getting lay-off warning letters. The hospital has no money due to no surgeries being performed. No money to keep the Courthouse up and running.

Anonymous said...

"Nurses at UMMC are getting lay-off warning letters. The hospital has no money due to no surgeries being performed. No money to keep the Courthouse up and running."
May 15, 2020 at 6:46 PM

The Courthouse would not need injections of money, and would still be MAKING money, had management not "FINALLY!" run-off a huge segment of its long-time membership. It's the same segment that the Downtown 'Y' finally "got rid of", just before realizing it had no members left who weren't on welfare, and the South Jackson 'Y' ran-off, just before realizing it had no members left who weren't on welfare.

But that's Mississippi "leadership" for ya: making things uncomfortable for the movers and shakers and jobmakers, while scratching your head with one hand, and scratching your ass with the other, wondering why everybody with a lick of sense moved to Seattle or Dallas or Austin or Nashville.

Anonymous said...

6:46 The hospital has no money? How many of the hundreds of administrators making $100,000+ are being let go?

Anonymous said...

Word on the street is that the swim team is returning to the Wellness pool this week. The Millsaps swim team also utilizes the Wellness pool. I wonder if someone or a group of folks from the team or college have come up with the money to buy the building.

Anonymous said...

There were several vehicles parked by, and at least a few people in the pool, this past Saturday (May 16). The large windows and doors that face the street were open, and this was easy to see via a quick drive-by of the place.

Kingfish said...

Supposedly a deal was worked out with the Makos for the summer.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, please pass along any new information you receive on this. And if you manage to get the ingredients list of what's in those "foggers" some gyms are using, could you pass that along, too? At this point, a lot of us are wondering if we won't have to fill our houses with exercise equipment (the "disinfectant" probably being far more dangerous, in the long-term, than the virus).

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