A look inside a 96-year-old building before being demolished

Florence City downtown manager Ray Reich allowed WPDE NewsChannel 15 to take part in a tour Thursday of the Florence Trust Company Building on West Evans Street that will soon be torn down and replaced with a new medical school for Francis Marion University.

Much of the seven story building has deteriorated inside due to water damage, according to Reich.

"There's really not much historic fabric left on the interior of the building. So, that's the other thing. Generally, you try to save a building like this because of the architectural elements that exists and most of the significant architectural elements are destroyed by years of water penetration."

The floors in the building are weak and the stairs are broken and shattered.

"The stairs are a combination of years of neglect and water penetration. So, all of the materials, keeping in mind when this building was built which was 1917, the materials then did not have the quality that we got today. So, with that concrete and some of the other materials used water penetrates and it loses it structural stability. And that's the reason why you see those steps just deteriorating literally," Reich explained.

Reich says the walls are also damaged and will have to be rebuilt.

The Florence Historic Foundation and the Florence Historical Commission believe the building can be saved.

The Historical Commission voted to delay the city's permit to demolish the building by 60 days.

The foundation says a preservation engineering group walked through the building Thursday and believes the building is able to be renovated since the water damage hasn't caused any major structural issues.

The group plans to do a more detailed study of the building in the coming days.

The Florence Design and Review Board has yet to meet on the demolition of the Florence Trust Company Building.