Francis Marion University

Medical & Health Science

Florence, SC

Project Type

Higher Education


52,000 Square Feet

Design Services

Architecture, Engineering, Interior Architecture

As part of an urban revitalization effort, Francis Marion University decided to locate its new three-story, health science building in downtown Florence.

Inspired by the architectural character of the historic city and the Neo-Renaissance post office across the street, the Luther F. Carter Center for Health Sciences is set back from the street and organized around a public green. Further enhancing partnership opportunities with local hospitals and the City of Florence, the building houses FMU’s graduate programs in the health sciences and allied programs associated with the USC School of Medicine. It has laboratories, a variety of classroom types, a large lecture hall, faculty offices and open collaborative lounge areas for collaboration and social engagement.

Design Awards

  • Design Build Institute of America (DBIA) Best Educational Project Award


  • LEED Silver

Why Design-Build

As part of Francis Marion University’s master plan, the new health sciences complex was the first state-procured design-build project in South Carolina. FMU chose the design-build delivery method so there would be a single point of responsibility for design and construction. It also allowed for concurrent design and construction activities.

Best Practices

Typically, schedule is one of the issues most challenging on a project. With our partner Balfour Beatty as the lead contractor, the design-build delivery method drove scheduling efficiencies.

This approach encouraged involving the right people in the planning process, enabled open and collaborative discussions early and allowed for continuous improvement. Through consistent and intentional updates to the schedule, the team was able not only to accommodate design changes, but to deliver the project one week early.

Quality Assurance & Quality Control

When quality control begins in design and follows through to field work and project turnover, it results in the continuity of the entire team, leading to the success of the integrated approach and, ultimately, a project that exceeds expectations.

Continuity was one of the most beneficial results of the design-build approach led by Balfour Beatty, as the same team was invested in the project from award through completion of the facility. When the same team of people designs and builds a project, greater attention is given to scheduling and pricing throughout the design phase, contributing to the project’s efficiency and diminishing the opportunity for items to be overlooked.

Little was an instrumental partner from the very beginning. Little’s team is highly skilled, extremely professional, and willing to assist at every opportunity.
Michael W. Richey

Director of Facilities Engineering & Maintenance