August 11, 2020
FMU growing again with acquisition of Circle Park building in downtown
Francis Marion University’s presence in downtown Florence is growing yet again.
FMU is set to receive the former Circle Park Behavioral Health Center on Gregg Avenue from the City of Florence, following action taken by the Florence City Council on Monday. The University will renovate the building and use it for medical education as part of its rapidly expanding School of Health Sciences.
The city purchased the building earlier this year and is conveying it to FMU as a gift. FMU will be responsible for renovating the building and operating it. Plans for the funding of the work, the precise programming for the building, and timetable for the construction are still being developed.
The building is the sixth property FMU has built or acquired downtown, all in the past decade. It will be the third University building devoted to medical education. The Luther F. Carter Center for Health Sciences opened on West Evans Street in 2016. The Hugh and Jean Leatherman Medical Education Complex, in the renovated former federal building across the street from the Carter Center, is set to open this fall.
Dr. Fred Carter, FMU’s president, says the new project adds to the momentum of medical education in Florence and enhances its long-standing partnership with the city.
“Given the current situation in the world today, it’s abundantly clear that providing well-educated medical and healthcare providers is an essential mission for a contemporary university,” says Carter. “FMU began planning this path more than 15 years ago, and it continues to bear fruit for our graduates, our students and our community. These opportunities will continue to grow in the years ahead.
“Another productive benefit of this programmatic growth is the fact that it has allowed us to assist in the revitalization of downtown. Our downtown campus has added vibrancy and additional clientele to the downtown business district. In turn, FMU has benefited from being a part of such a growing and dynamic area. That synergy is why this partnership has worked so well.”
The Circle Park building was a vacated behavioral services center several years ago. Previously it was an elementary school, known as the Circle School, and later, the McKenzie School.