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      Crews hope to start knocking down historic Florence Trust building this week

      File photo of the street that is blocked off to allow for the demolition of the Trust building in downtown Florence.

      Crews hope to start knocking down a portion of the 97-year-old Trust building in downtown Florence Monday afternoon, according to Jason Wofford with Wofford Demolition.

      They will use a high reach excavator, which resembles a large construction crane, to knock down the building, Wofford said. No explosives will be used.

      Crews did remove the brick facade from building over the past two weeks, while they waited for a permit from the South Carolina Department of Transportation to detour traffic

      The city is clearing the site for Francis Marion University to construct its $15 million Medical and Health Sciences Complex in downtown Florence.

      It will take another three weeks or so to demolish the building.

      The demolition is costing the City of Florence about $400,000.

      The roof of the building caught fire on May 29 but it did not do serious damage and did not impact the timeline for the demolition of the building.

      The path for demolition was met with protests from two historic groups in Florence.

      The groups argued that the Trust Building is a landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

      However, the Florence Design Review Board voted 6-1 to allow the city to tear down the seven-story skyscraper.

      Construction on FMU's medical school is scheduled to start this fall. The medical school building will be three stories high and is expected to be completed by the summer of 2016.