Despite delays and costs, renovation project continues after former elementary school burns

Despite delays and costs, renovation project continues after former elementary school burns

NORTH CHARLESTON S.C. (WCSC)- Firefighters responded early Saturday morning to a large fire at the Old Chicora Elementary School in North Charleston. The space is also a part of a multi-million dollar project which developers say will continue.

North Charleston Fire Department said flames damaged the auditorium and some upper classrooms.

While there are no reported injuries, the cause of the fire is still unknown.

The building is in the beginning stages of a $20 million renovation project that would add an early learning center, performance and arts space...as well as house the Allegro Charter School.

Bill Stanfield, CEO of the development organization Metanoia, says although the fire will increase the cost of the project and could delay the start of construction, their goal is to continue with the renovations.

“Even though today is a hard day, this is not the end of the story for us,” Stanfield said. “We are going to keep working on this project. We have some options ahead of us and there’s still a lot of fact-finding and those kinds of things. This is a resilient community. We are a resilient organization and we plan to stay here and do what we do and continue to work on this project as well.”

Sarah and Tony Osterman were among many former students who drove to see the damage after hearing about the fire. They met at the school decades ago and have been married for nearly 40 years.

"It's just got a lot of memories. It's just kind of devastating in a way," Tony Osterman said. "That's one reason why we came by here, just to look at it."

They said they hope the project can continue as planned and help the surrounding Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood.

“It’s going to be bigger and better, I hope,” Sarah Osterman said.

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