Workforce Development Redefined: Education Snapshots

Workforce Development Redefined: Education Snapshots

An old big-box structure was transformed into an education and training center to provide workforce development in a rural area known for its agricultural legacy.

The Continuum in Lake City, South Carolina was born out of a collaboration between Darla Moore Foundation, Florence-Darlington Technical College, and Francis Marion University. Students can acquire credits toward high school diplomas, certificates, two-year degrees and four year-degrees.

While the Continuum’s workforce development curriculum redefines education, the architectural design redefined the building’s purpose.

The 46,000-square-foot former big-box structure was redesigned to accommodate traditional courses like English, math, history, biology, as well as pre-engineering and pre-nursing and courses in HVAC, welding, health sciences, mechatronics and advanced manufacturing technology. The open spaces, cohesive floor plan, classrooms, computer labs, science labs, and workforce development spaces encourage collaboration and innovation.

From site plan to exterior façade to interior finishes, the design is inspired by imagery of deconstructed wood-slat barns. The color scheme draws on the tobacco leaf, a local former cash crop, with various green hues evident in furniture, wayfinding, and murals.

The massive wood structure and exposed bolted connections give the space an industrial feel while rooted in the natural world. Large windows and projecting glass boxes around the entire building perimeter assist in introducing significant daylighting into the classrooms, meetings spaces and offices. By using traditional building materials like brick, copper, and wood, the design achieves a modern solution while complementing the surrounding downtown structures.

See the talented work of our interiors team and follow the link for the full photo tour of this award-winning project.


  • AIA SC Design Awards, Honor Award for Adaptive Reuse, 2020
  • IIDA Carolinas Chapter, DesignWorks Award for Education, 2021
  • Woodworks, Wood Design Awards, Regional Excellence Award, 2020

For more information on the Continuum, listen to our podcast series The Continuum: Education Redefined.

Our project team included: Thompson Turner Construction, RMF Engineering, SeamonWhiteside, and Britt, Peters & Associates.

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