Continuum to become regional education center in Lake City

March 4, 2019

LAKE CITY, S.C. – Jeanette Altman, executive director of The Continuum in Lake City, said the building will be a regional center for education training in innovative and technical skills and workforce development.

In a presentation Thursday to the Florence County School District Three board members, Altman said The Continuum is a collaboration between Francis Marion University, Florence-Darlington Technical College and the Darla Moore Foundation.

The building is approximately 46,000 square feet and includes classrooms, computer labs, biology and chemistry labs, workforce development and health science spaces, a community lecture hall and event space, and a business incubator.

“It will provide courses that lead to two- and four-year degrees, dual credit for high school students. We’re looking at offering programs for K-12 students,” Altman said.

According to Altman, courses that will be offered at The Continuum were developed strategically with a plan in mind for five areas: pre-engineering, pre-nursing, business, computer science and education.

She said not all students want to take courses that are transferrable to other institutions, but would rather do something hands-on. So The Continuum will also provide other options.

“And this is where Florence-Darlington comes in with heating and air, welding and mechatronics,” Altman said. “So mechatronics is a combination of industrial maintenance, some mechanical, some electrical circuits, machine, advance manufacturing type circuits.”

There will be 10 welding booths included at the building. Other potential workforce development courses include health science/CAN and advanced manufacturing.

One of the goals of The Continuum is to reach out to businesses and industries, Altman said. According to her presentation, the center will provide continuing education and training based on needs of local businesses and industries, determine workforce needs and skill requirements and connect students with career opportunities.

The business incubator space will be run by Francis Marion University, Altman said. Businesses will have to apply to be a part of it.

“And they would work with their staff to make sure they have a solid business plan,” Altman said. “They will attend professional development. They’ll (Francis Marion) work with them on making sure they are ready to go out and start their business. And they have to meet certain requirements even to be accepted.”

Businesses that are part of the incubator program will have to continue to meet certain benchmarks to stay. Altman said businesses can take advantage of what is being offered by Francis Marion University and the facility. The facility provides both a structure and an infrastructure for the businesses to occupy, she said.

The Continuum is at 208 W. Main St. in Lake City. According to previous reports, it is expected to open in the fall.