Local non-profit finalizing lease-purchase with North Charleston to renovate old Chicora Elementary

Local News

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A local non-profit, Metanoia, is one step closer to renovating and revitalizing the old Chicora Elementary School in North Charleston.

North Charleston city council plans to vote on the final lease agreement Thursday night.

 They will also talk about funding for Metanoia to renovate the building into a childhood education and development hub.

The building has been vacant since 2012 and is now dilapidated.

Two years ago, the city gave Metanoia 18 months to secure money for the project.

The community group did not meet the deadline and the city gave them an extension.

Now, metanoia has raised more than $20 million dollars to lease-purchase the former school.

Officials with the non-profit says the funding came from donations, state and federal tax credits.

The CEO for Metanoia, Bill Stanfield, says the former school “will eventually be home to three uses— a set of artist studios and performing arts center for the city of North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department, the Allegra Charter School of Music, which is a middle and high school themed charter school where kids learn music as a core part of their curriculum, and an early learning center for children 0-4.”

Stanfield tells News 2 that starting construction will require some help from the city.

At Thursday’s council meeting, city council will decide whether to lease a wing of the building for creative arts.

“The city has wanted an artist space for artists to operate in for years, so we are providing space to the City of North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department for artists’ studios here,” said Stanfield. “This old auditorium, this 300-seat auditorium will be operated by the City of North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department as well.”

If city council approves the lease-purchase agreement tonight, Metanoia plans to start construction this Spring.

Construction is expected to wrap up early 2021.

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