FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - There are two multi-million dollar construction projects going on in downtown Florence that are part of the re-development plans.
Francis Marion University is building a Health Sciences Complex off Irby Street. This medical building is expected to help meet the growing demand for medical professionals, while also helping the redevelopment of downtown Florence.
It is set to open next summer, which will allow students to move in for the opening of their physician's assistant class in Fall, 2016.
Students that will also occupy this facility are nurse practitioners, educators, clinical psychologists and third and fourth year medical students from the University of South Carolina.
This medical facility is where they are going to get their hands on experience. The project also goes hand in hand with the other plans to improve the overall growth of the downtown area.
Tucker Mitchell, Executive Director of Public Affairs at Francis Marion University says, "The folks who are employed as instructors and support staff, and then of course the students themselves will be great customers at coffee shops and restaurants and all other business in this area."
While students are learning here, city leaders are hoping the new parking structure and apartment complex that is being built across the street will give students a place to park and live. This is expected to be completed by Fall 2016 as well.
"The demand for parking and the convenience for parking, that demand as well as being convenient is an essential ingredient for people to feel comfortable coming downtown," says Drew Griffin, City Manager of Florence.
The entire master plan for the downtown area is designed to have on street, off street and covered parking. Griffin says the parking deck plays an essential role in a residential building, because people who are living there will like covered parking.
That parking and apartment structure will include five levels of parking spaces with a covered deck. The four level apartment complex will wrap around the entire parking structure giving it an urban look.