MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Conway City Council held an open workshop Wednesday evening to discuss the decision to demolish or restore the old Whittemore Elementary School.
Cheryl Adamson, president of the Whittemore Racepath Historical Society, along with several other community members, presented her opinions and outlined options to restore the former school, which has been in disrepair since it was damaged during Hurricane Matthew in September 2016. It was condemned by the city in 2019.
“We just want to encourage the city of Conway and all the members of our community that what we are proposing is doable and will infuse our community with a great deal of life that it is in need of right now,” Adamson said.
Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy voiced concerns about asbestos and mold overtaking significant parts of the building.
Clearing the building of asbestos and mold is a process that must be done regardless of whether the building is restored or demolished, and is estimated to cost more than $200,000.
Blain-Bellamy was also concerned with certain aspects of the proposed partnership between the city and the Whittemore Racepath Historical Society.
“The beginning of a partnership — a partnership I would favor above all other things,” the mayor said. “But the devil’s in the details.”
The mayor raised questions such as what the partnership would look like, who would be responsible for what, how would authority be divided and who would be responsible for funding.
While a final decision has not been made, it is expected that a request for proposal will be brought up at the earliest possible council meeting. If the school were to be restored, it is expected to cost between $11 and $20 million.