FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - In downtown Florence, there is a Francis Marion University building on nearly every street.
The university will now be adding a sixth building to downtown after it was gifted the former Circle Park Behavioral Sciences building on Gregg Avenue.
“Every great city needs a great university and every university needs to be part of a great city,” said FMU President Dr. Fred Carter.
Carter said because of the rapid growth being seen in FMU’s School of Health Sciences, the new location will likely be used by upper-level medical students.
They are currently using the Luther F. Carter Center also in downtown Florence.
“Our physician’s assistant program, our nurse practitioners program, and speech therapy program are continuing to grow, and I wouldn’t say they’re pushing the third and fourth-year students out, but we need that room,” said Carter.
Carter believes the Circle Park location will enhance development seen throughout downtown Florence just like the other university buildings in the area.
“Circle Park is not coincidental, Circle Park in a giant leap will allow the university to develop an extraordinary building right on the fringe of that west area which is starting to be developed,” said Carter.
Carter said Francis Marion and Florence city leaders have developed a bond that has allowed them to work and grow together.
“They’re constantly calling and asking how the university is doing and they’re constantly encouraging us to come up with better ideas, innovative ideas of how we can connect with the city more and more,” said Carter.
Carter said the current building will have to renovated or rebuilt and he expects it to be running in the next two or three years.
“Certainly in the 20 years since I’ve been here there hasn’t been any jurisdiction in this area that has been a better partner for working with Francis Marion than the city of Florence and I think the faculty, staff, and students are deeply appreciative for everything the city does for this university,” said Carter.