Garland ISD—Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technical Center
To create an education center that supports the local community and advances student opportunity, the new Career and Technology Center (CTC) was envisioned adjacent to a major highway, signifying the important impact on the community. The building promotes professional environments with a focus on real-world application, featuring makerspaces, collaborative, and experimental learning zones. Seamless integration of simulated learning areas creates a cohesive and modern learning environment.
The school serves the community, high school students, and sixth graders. Shared spaces throughout maximize collaboration. Representing a hub of ideas, the school acts as an intersection between local industry and education. Interdisciplinary collaboration for real-world environments drives opportunities for students to research, experiment, and innovate. Application-driven scenarios such as Junior Achievement “BizTown”, the mock-up town located at the center of the facility, mimic jobs.
Located off a major highway, the school advertises the innovations occurring within, promoting “learning on display.” Thoughtful program consolidation conserves financial resources and avoids amenity duplication and overcrowding at existing schools. The school operates on alternating day schedules to maximize student enrollment numbers, allowing for one-on-one learning. CTE pathways reflect the community values and engage with the fastest-growing and highest-paying industries in the region.
To encourage resource conservation, mechanical systems were supplemented with new, high-efficiency equipment. Recycled local materials and native plants help to reduce water usage. Daylight is used in all teaching spaces to promote student health and reduce energy costs. Additional considerations, such as acoustics and stair location, heighten student wellness. Increased social sustainability curricula connect students with knowledge of the environmental impact of their decisions.
Programs were planned in partnership with industry experts through meetings with local businesses. The current and future needs of the community were assessed to maximize forthcoming job opportunities for students to re-invest in the local market. This high-level of engagement aims to inspire students and instill a sense of place and ownership within the community. Several programs are open to the broader community, serving a dual purpose such as an education center for evening classes.
District workshops revealed a key planning goal: create project-based spaces for students to thrive around the “learning on display” model. Collaboration and indoor/outdoor makerspaces are interwoven to create cross-curricula integration. The main corridor acts as the spine of the school and a hub for events or display projects. Spatial adjacencies are optimized for efficiency and flexible usage, including program-specific spaces such as labs in locations accessible to the public.
The school prepares students to compete in a global economy, offering a network of opportunities for today’s workplaces. Blended learning areas allow students to hone their craft adjacent to their courses. The JA “BizTown” facility gives exposure to careers through a variety of corporate partners. Each program teaches students about the field and how it relates to other companies within the mock-town. The continuum of education provides an engagement in students’ collegiate or career pathways.
Star of Distinction Category Winner