Construction going strong downtown
A lot of building and rebuilding is going on in the historic area of downtown Florence. With most of the work to be finished next year, Florentines can expect to see major changes and improvements in 2016. HOPE HEALTH The huge facility towering above the northwest corner of N. Irby and Lucas Street is the new Hope Health Facility. This federally qualified health center will consolidate several of its current healthcare offices into the roughly 50,000 square foot facility currently under construction.
The framing is up, brick work is underway and the roofing will begin going up this week, said building superintendent Bill Keefe. The building will be ready for occupancy in February of 2016. HopeHealth provides primary health care to patients throughout 11 locations in Florence, Clarendon and Williamsburg Counties with more than 34 physicians and nurse practitioners. As an FQHC, they are able to offer reduced fees to the uninsured through a sliding fee scale.
HopeHealth services include but are not limited to family health care, internal medicine, pediatrics, certified diabetes center services, nutritional services, behavioral health, infectious disease care and medical massage. HEALTH SCIENCES COMPLEX South of the Hope Health site, at the corner of S. Irby and W. Evans Street, site prep work is underway for the new Francis Marion University Health Sciences Complex. Steel will arrive on site later this month with some steel work to begin by the end of the month.
Work is progressing on schedule with the new complex expected to open in the fall of 2016. The new downtown FMU complex will include 50,000 square feet of class A classroom and office space, laboratories and a state-of-the-art simulated hospital. It will be home to a variety of disciplines in the field of health care education:
• FMU’s Nurse Practitioner/ Nurse Education Program – first class graduated Fall 2014
• FMU’s Physicians Assistant Program – first class expected to enroll Fall 2016
• USC third and fourth-year Medical Student Clinical Programs – first students arrived fall of 2014
• FMU Clinical Psychology Masters Program – Existing program will move to the new HSC in fall of 2016
• FMU Speech Pathology, Health Care Administration – programs are in planning stages PARKING DECK/APARTMENTS Just around the corner from the Health Sciences Complex, construction has begun on a city parking deck.
The parking deck will include four decks and be wrapped on three sides with 82 apartments. The side of the deck facing S. Irby Street will not have apartments, but the exterior will match the other three sides, said City Manager Drew Griffin. The apartment complex will be five stories. For the construction of the parking deck and apartments the current parking in that space is being redesigned, Drew noted.
Two older buildings facing Irby Street were recently demolished and that space will become the new driveway, he said. The deck and apartments are expected to be completed in mid to late summer of 2016. DOWNTOWN BUILDINGS Both corner buildings of West Evans and Dargan Streets are covered in scaffolding as they are getting completely renovated and restored. On the southern corner, the former Royal Knight building is being remodeled with commercial space and additional rooms for Hotel Florence which is next door.
On the northern corner, the old Kuker corner building and the adjacent Kress building are being restored and renovated to include commercial space, condos and a rooftop restaurant. Further down West Evans, the old Rainwater building is being renovated to become the office space for the Med-Enroll business and Employee Rewards Solutions. All three projects are being done by private investors. CITY SIDEWALK PROJECT The city plans to redo the sidewalks along both South and North Dargan Streets and a portion of Irby Street. They will have an urban brick and bluestone design, said Drew Griffin. The bids for this work are going out this week, he added.