FMU acquires Old Post Office building with help from donors

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW)  – On Monday, Francis Marion University announced the school has acquired the Old Post Office in downtown Florence, with help from several donors.

According to the press release from Executive Director of Public Affairs Tucker Mitchell, university officials say the building on the corner of West Evans and Irby Streets will be used for  instructional purposes.

The building was acquired for $3.7 million by the City of Florence, the Francis Marion University Development Foundation and the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation.  The city and the Bruce and Lee Foundation also worked with FMU on the Carter Center and on the FMU Performing Arts Center, the release says.

Mitchell says the building has been a local landmark for more than a century and served as a center of government, as well as a post office, for more than 70 years. It also served as the seat of the Federal Court and housed congressional and other federal offices.

“The Old Post Office building is one of the most distinctive buildings in Florence and the Pee Dee,” said FMU President Dr. Fred Carter.  “It will make a great teaching venue for our faculty and a terrific academic environment for our students. And, we believe the university’s stewardship will help preserve what is truly a local future.”

In the press release, Florence Mayor Stephen J. Wukela says the city is delighted to be “supporting the university as it expands its presence in the downtown area. FMU has been an excellent partner for the community. It’s exciting to see projects like this take shape.”

The Old Post Office is a three-story structure with approximately 30,000 square feet. The oldest parts of the building date to 1906. It attained its current form following a major three-story addition to the rear of the building in 1935. It was listed on the National Historic Register in 1977.