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Career and Technical High School (CTHS) is helping to pioneer the evolution of secondary education.

Nearly a decade in the making and a collaborative effort that included HON, Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects, Workspace Elements, business administrators, and Higher Ed partners, the St. George, UT campus opened its doors in August 2023 to excited students, teachers, parents, and community members.

And it’s not just your average high school. Principal Chris Homer has a unique idea of what the future looks like— not just for CTHS, but secondary schools across the nation.

“We have a vision for being different,” said Homer. “Today’s students are creators—they learn by doing. We wanted to create an educational environment that meets the needs and the strengths of these kids—a curriculum that’s designed to spark imaginations, inspire creativity, and offer the power of choice.

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In lieu of a one-size-fits-all approach to education and extracurricular activities, CTHS focuses on eight different pathways designed to prepare students for careers in high demand. Business, Finance, Entrepreneurship; Construction and Architecture; Culinary Arts, Tourism, and Hospitality; Engineering, Technology, and Robotics; Early Childhood Ed and Teaching as a Profession; Graphic Design and Digital Media; Health Sciences; and Information Technology and Cyber Security round out the program. Infused with the latest technology and tools, the campus has unlocked student imaginations and helped them recognize the new opportunities that extend beyond the traditional learning space.

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“We wanted the entire school to be the classroom,” said Architect and Facilities Coordinator Bryan Dyer. “Every element in this building is designed to be flexible—the gym, the courtyard, the commons area, the gathering stair, and the lecture hall can all serve as instructional spaces or be easily adapted to host school social activities and community events.”

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Above: Astir Booths with Birk Tables

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"Furniture, of course, plays a pivotal role in how these elements work together. Developing a hands-on technical learning environment started with a comprehensive solution portfolio designed to support the evolving needs of its spaces, students, and instructors. From soft lounge seating designed to bridge the gap between people and places (Flock and Astir) to industrious workstations created for concentration (Makerspace and Build), every HON product solution applied throughout the school serves an important purpose: To connect, focus, and inspire students to be their best.

“Because Career Tech High School’s program offers an extensive and rigorous year-round coursework structure, having access to a wide variety of multifunctional spaces is imperative,” said Jacque Todd of Workspace Elements. “With the addition of durable work surfaces, thoughtful storage, integrated seating and tables—plus pops of vibrant color and comforting fabrics—HON was able to create energetic purpose and an imaginative aesthetic throughout the school.”

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Flexibility was key. Every space within the 126,607 square foot building was designed to create a comprehensive, supportive environment for everyone who uses the school. With the option to accommodate 800 students, that’s no small feat. The results exceed expectations—Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects and CTHS were recognized by Utah Construction and Design Magazine as Utah’s most outstanding project in 2023.

The concept of technical curricula is beginning to take root. CTHS’s model—Dr. Kirk Lewis High Career and Technical High School in Houston, TX—inspired a visiting Washington County administrator to take the idea back to Utah. Met with enthusiastic support from the community and business leaders, CTHS became a reality eight years later. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 8.3 million high school students participated in career and technology education in 2020-2021, up from 7.5 million the previous year.

Homer thinks this trend will keep growing.

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“We truly believe that this will be a unique and special opportunity for students,” he said. “Our vision is that we want our students to learn, explore, interact, connect, and engage in a whole new way. Instead of students asking, ‘why am I here,’ we hope students at CTHS will say “THIS is why I’m here.’”

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