Tonya Brown, WPDE News 15
“Florence, S.C. (WPDE) — Francis Marion University has acquired the Old Post Office at the corner of North Irby and West Evans Street in downtown Florence, according to an FMU news release.
The building was bought for $3.7 million by the City of Florence, the Francis Marion University Development Foundation and the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation. Each entity is sharing equally in the purchase, the release said.
FMU President Dr. Fred Carter said it will cost another $8 million to renovate the facility, making the the total investment around $12 million.
The city and the Bruce and Lee Foundation also collaborated with FMU on the Carter Center, and on the FMU Performing Arts Center, which also located downtown.
The old post office is the third major building the university has purchased in the downtown area.
University officials said the building will be for instructional use.
It’s directly across from the university’s Carter Center for Health Science, which opened last summer.
The old post office is a three-story structure with approximately 30,000 square feet.
The oldest parts of the building date back to 1906. It attained its current form following a major three-story addition to the rear, or northern end, of the building in 1935. It was listed on the National Historic Register in 1977, the release said.
Carter said the acquisition makes sense for both the university and the community.
“The Old Post Office building is one of the most distinctive buildings in Florence and the Pee Dee,” said Carter. “It will make a great teaching venue for our faculty and a terrific academic environment for our students. And, we believe the university’s stewardship will help preserve what is truly a local future.”
Florence Mayor Stephen J. Wukela said the city is delighted to be supporting the university as it expands its presence in the downtown area.
He said FMU has been an excellent partner for the community, saying it’s exciting to see projects like this take shape.
Wukela said the city is glad to continue to partner with FMU and the Bruce and Lee Foundation.
Carter said he’s hoping the building will be ready by next year.”