Conway leaders to decide fate of historic Whittemore Elementary School after fire

Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 11:26 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 10, 2023 at 6:42 PM EST
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - The fate of a historic school in Conway will be decided next week.

Conway City Council announced a special meeting scheduled for Monday to decide whether to demolish the old Whittemore Elementary School. The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. at the city’s building and planning department on Laurel Street.

The meeting’s agenda consists of only two items: a “consideration of emergency demolition of Whittemore Elementary School” and a “considering of closing request for proposals for Whittemore Elementary School property.”

A virtual meeting via Zoom was originally scheduled for Thursday but was canceled hours before it was set to take place.

The meeting will come nearly a week after the old school property on Maple Street caught fire. Crews fought hotspots at the scene for over six hours.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is investigating the cause of the fire. On Friday, SLED said in a statement to WMBF News that the investigation was “active and ongoing,” but couldn’t provide any additional details.

The Whittemore Elementary building has been empty for decades and has remained a hot topic between the city and those wanting to preserve the property. First opened in 1954, the school is noted as being an equalization school in South Carolina, educating only African-American students prior to integration.

The city has owned the building since 2018 after it saw damage from Hurricane Matthew in 2016. It was later condemned in 2020 after the city found it beyond repair at the time.

In January, it was revealed the costs to renovate the building nearly doubled to around $30 million.

Stay with WMBF News for updates.