CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The City of Conway is planning to buy and renovate what used to be Whittemore Elementary and turn it into a community center. The city held a meeting Thursday night to listen to the public’s ideas about what programs they wanted to new building to have.
Whittemore Elementary was badly damaged during Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and the building was left unusable.
At Thursday night’s meeting, over 60 people from the public showed up to brainstorm different programs for the future center.
“Well this center’s going to be for the community, so obviously we want to ask the community what they want and what they need in the City of Conway,” says Taylor Newell, a spokesperson for Conway.
Many of those who attended the meeting had a close connection with the old building.
“Whittemore was the only thing we had,” says Veronica Gerald, a life-long Conway resident.
Gerald attended Whittemore during the segregation, and she says the teachers there prepared her for the world outside of school.
She came to the meeting to ensure the history of the old building would be preserved when the new community center opens.
“I was really afraid, that like a lot of things that happen, the history would go away,” says Gerald.
The City of Conway is still in the process of obtaining the building from Horry County Schools. The city has received $550,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds to use toward the renovations. They plan to hold another public meeting on June 25th at 6 p.m. at the Conway Recreation Center.