Discovery High School

Lawrenceville, Georgia

Education with a (re)purpose 

A building that began as a 414,000 SF tire distribution warehouse has found new life as a 650,000 SF high school for over 2,000 students in Gwinnett County, Georgia. The existing structure was taken down to the structural frame, re-skinned and re-roofed, and fitted out with state-of-the-art classrooms and student activity centers. The frame in the northeast corner was removed for spaces requiring higher ceilings - commons area, media center, theater and two gymnasiums. General, science, chemistry, math, and language arts classrooms, fine arts including choral, band, and orchestra, TV and recording studios and a dance studio are included in the building.  

A second floor was added in the front portion of the building to bring the total area to 650,000 SF, with floor space available for expansion. The 16,300 SF entrepreneurship program located on the second floor serves high school students at Discovery High School, empowering them to start their own businesses. 

The intimate 500-seat theater included in the design serves the high school as a performance space and as a lecture hall. The sloping floor optimizes unobstructed sight lines. The spectacular ceiling design serves to deflect sound to the audience while the open areas between the “clouds” allow for retractable performance lighting, general lighting, and heating/cooling. The 2,500 SF stage provides a spacious area for performers. Side aisles provide additional performance space and a level access from the entrance of the theater to the stage. Wood trim lines the proscenium arch. Acoustical panels on the sides and rear walls are framed with stained wood. Brick accents provide texture and color in the theater. Sound light locks reduce noise and light transmission from the lobby. Oversized doors give access from the exterior through the 2,100 SF Prop/Prep area to the stage. 

The Junior Achievement project is a 45,500 SF renovation of an existing two-story space within Discovery High School. The program is managed by Junior Achievement of Georgia, which educates students in work readiness and financial literacy. It serves middle school students who will be transported from their schools throughout Gwinnett County. 

Smallwood also provided Interior Design and Experiential Graphic Design services for this project. To learn more, please click the links above.


"We have been very pleased with the performance of Smallwood on this project and numerous others over the past thirty years."


Greg Pruitt
Gwinnett County Public Schools
(now with Forsyth County Public Schools)

The Americas
Awards & Recognition

Award of Merit K-12 Education 2012 Best Projects

- Engineering News Record 2015

2015 Best Projects K-12 Education, Award of Merit

- Engineering News Record 2015