Fire delays renovation of Old Chicora Elementary School

Charleston County News

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – A fire in North Charleston has delayed plans to renovate the old Chicora Elementary School

Early on Saturday morning, firefighters responded to the fire at 1:59 am.

Heavy fire was said to be coming out of the abandoned school’s auditorium.

At this time, officials say a cause hasn’t been determined and that it could take a while.

“Because the auditorium roof has burnt away, it’s unknown how structurally sound the walls are. We don’t want anyone going inside or outside. It may take a while to dig this scene out and determine what caused the fire,” says Stephanie Julazadeh, the Deputy Chief with North Charleston Fire Department.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t great news for Bill Stanfield, the CEO of Metanoia, a non-profit organization that had plans for the school, that’s been vacant since 2012.

“It’s an old historic structure. It tells a lot about the history of the neighborhood, but we wanted to renovate it in a way that creates opportunities for the people who live in this neighborhood now.”

Bill Stanfield, CEO of Metanoia

The renovated facility will include three uses on campus.

One wing will house the Allegro Charter School of Music, a middle and high school music-themed charter school.

Another wing will house a series of art studios and a performing arts center that will be managed by the city of North Charleston.

A third wing will provide a new childhood education development center for children between the ages of 0-4.

“We were hoping to start construction in a month or so and be done in about 12 months so this will slide us back a little bit,” says Stanfield “This is just a delay, this is not the end of this story. We are going to keep moving forward and one day this campus will be back to life, we promise that,” continues Stanfield.

The organization says there needs to be a full investigation of the site and repair costs must be assessed before they can continue construction.

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