FLORENCE — Maud Lindsay Free Kindergarten, an east Florence landmark, will be making a move in 2013 for the third time in its 114-year existence.
The property that the storied kindergarten building sits on at 1802 Cole St. was recently declared surplus by the City Council and city school board that shared joint ownership. The school board owns the majority of the property, while the city owns a small portion of the lot.
By declaring the property surplus, negotiations can move forward with RegionalCare Hospital Partners to buy the property as part of its proposal to build a new hospital in the area.
Jeff Atwood, vice president of communication for RegionalCare, said officials understand the importance of the school and the community it serves.
“We’ll do everything we can to make sure the school year is not interrupted by construction or movement of the school,” Atwood said.
Local real estate agent Greg Pounders, who is handling transactions between RegionalCare, property owners, the council and school board, declined to disclose details about the property, including price, citing a confidentiality agreeement.
District 3 Florence City Councilman Hermon Graham said his interest is in helping RegionalCare move forward in a timely manner with building plans while at the same time protecting the historical kindergarten.
“There’s a speculative lot we’re looking at that the city owns just a couple blocks from where it is located now,” Graham said, adding that it’s on the corner of Enterprise and Central avenues.
“There will be no expense to the kindergarten, and we hope to have (the building) moved next summer, if everything goes according to plans,” he said. “We certainly don’t want to interrupt the children’s school year.”
Diana Hawk, longtime director and teacher at Maud Lindsay, said she doesn’t expect the move to conflict with the operation of the school.
“Of course, we would rather not have to make another move, and we thought we had a permanent home on Cole Street, but we are very thankful to be able to continue the tradition of this wonderful, historic program that has been so meaningful to so many children,” Hawk said.
The kindergarten serves 4-year-olds in a half-day program.
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.