FMU receive new building from City Council

The+new+building+on+Gregg+Avenue+will+be+repurposed+as+another+addition+to+FMU%27s+health+science+program.+

Photo by: James McCarley

The new building on Gregg Avenue will be repurposed as another addition to FMU's health science program.

Kei'yona Jordon, Copy Editor

The Florence City Council recently gifted FMU a new building in the downtown Florence area.

FMU President Fred Carter says the building will be another addition to FMU’s health science and medical education programs.

“They gave it to the university with the expectation that within the next five to seven years we would develop it into another part of the health sciences medical education programs we are building downtown,” Carter said.

Carter said FMU had been keeping an eye on this building for a while.

“The city and the university had been talking about this building for about the last year,” Carter said.

The former Circle Park building will be the sixth addition to FMU’s facilities in downtown Florence.

The building’s location will help bring more business and a flow of people to downtown Florence as well as increase FMU’s presence.

“The school just keeps growing,” Carter said.

Carter said he was happy FMU was able to obtain another building without having to raise tuition for students.

“They’ve been conveyed to us by other entities and a partnership for us to continue to grow, develop and be a part of the renovation of downtown,” Carter said.

All of FMU’s buildings in downtown Florence are a result of the partnership cultivated between FMU and Florence.

“Every building that we’ve built downtown has been an effort that’s been between us, the city, the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation and the state of South Carolina,” Carter said.

Those partnerships allow FMU to accommodate new projects and the city of Florence to expand their economy.

“I think the university has played a major role in bringing the revitalization of downtown,” Carter said. “First with the Performing Arts Center then the health sciences building and these other buildings.”

With a majority of FMU students coming from South Carolina, the school wants to keep obtaining new enhancements without burdening the students.

“We’re just fortunate that we have so many affluent partners in the community,” Carter said. “They’re willing to help us grow and develop,.”

Hoping to continue the growth of their health sciences programs, FMU will use the new building for third- and fourth-year medical students coming in.

“Right now, we have about 25 of those students a year who come to us from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine,” Carter said.

In the next two years, FMU hopes to have a larger number of MUSC students and USC medical students housed in the new building.

Carter said the other buildings had taken about two to three years to be completed, but this building will take longer to repurpose due to the pandemic, planning and raising funds.

“It’s probably going to take a little longer to bring this building to fruition than the other buildings we’ve built,” Carter said. “Simply because it’s going to take longer to raise the money. It’s going to take longer to cultivate the broader partnerships that’s going to make this happen.”

There is also a lot of planning to be done before the building will be up and running.

“I don’t look for this to be completed until maybe about 2023/2024,” Carter said.