FLORENCE – The Pee Dee Education Center recently opened its new facility next door to Francis Marion University.
The center held an open house on June 13 to let the public see its new 14,000-square-foot building and the services that are offered there. It is located in the Francis Marion University Research Park on Francis Marion Road across from Wallace-Gregg Elementary School.
“We’ve always had a good relationship with Francis Marion, but this makes us even closer,” said Tom Truitt, the center’s executive director.
The center, founded in 1967, works with 19 area school districts and FMU to provide a variety of educational services. Programs include the Science and Math Hub, Medicaid reimbursement processing, a regional special education program, and a minority teacher recruitment program. The center also sponsors training programs and academic competitions.
In addition, the education center is a central source of information for local districts.
“We serve as the communication between our school districts and the state,” Truitt said.
Every office in the new building is wired for computers. The facility has a state-of-the-art computer lab and a distance learning broadcast studio, which will allow students from 15 area high schools to take advanced placement courses and other classes. The two-way distance learning program is a collaborative effort between the center, FMU, Florence-Darlington Technical College, the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, and the Poynor Adult Education Center.
Truitt said the distance learning program will “open up a lot of resources, especially for students in rural, isolated districts.”
He added that new initiatives are always in the works.
“Anything that comes along, we’ll do, if it helps the districts,” said Truitt.
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