Putting a New Spin on Things

Central Carolina Technical College Advanced Manufacturing Technology Training Center

In a dim chapter in architecture and planning history, the 80’s brought a wave of big-box stores to landscapes across the country.

With brick and block construction, massive fluorescent-lit interiors, and asphalt as far as the eye could see, these behemoths filled a niche for a time but, as a cohort, did not age well. When they started to look shoddy, the retailers often decamped to newer, larger, brighter buildings elsewhere and left their sagging buildings behind. These abandoned “ghost boxes” were a painfully visible reminder of community disinvestment as they quietly languished in a sea of empty pavement.

Sumter, SC had one of these ghost boxes. It was a shiny new WalMart, then an outdated WalMart, then home for a while to a bargain-basement retailer who left it full of leaks in the ceiling and creepy mannequin parts in the closets.

Central Carolina Technical College, however, is in the business of nurturing potential.

The college was not dissuaded by the leaks or the mannequins. The team was able to look past a zip code’s worth of asphalt and an uninspiring big box shell and see a new home for their Advanced Manufacturing Technology Training Center. The CCTC team worked with LS3P and Rogers construction to effect a jaw-dropping transformation.

That’s quite a transformation.

How does one even begin to break down a big-box into human-scale spaces?

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