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      Florence Trust building reduced to rubble

      The rubble that was previously the Trust building.

      The 97-year-old Trust building in downtown Florence is no more.

      Crews have demolished the once seven-story skyscraper and Irby and West Evans Streets have been reopened now that the demolition is nearly finished.

      Crews expect to be on scene for another week or so to clean up and remove debris from the area.

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

      Crews started tearing down the building over six weeks ago.

      The demolition was delayed for weeks due to an issue securing permits from the South Carolina Department of Transportation to detour traffic during the demolition process.

      The demolition cost 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.