In Wesley Chapel, Fla., a half-hour north of Tampa, Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation (KRAI) is “not going to look like anything you’ve ever seen before,” Kim Moore, assistant superintendent at Pasco County Schools, said in a statement. “This is going to be a cool school.”
Set to open for the 2022-23 school year, the 180,000-square-foot building will focus on Career and Technical Education (CTE), preparing students for high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand careers. It will offer hands-on, interactive learning that teaches skills more than theory—equipping students with the competencies they need to transition from high school to careers or college.
The purpose-built CTE high school will enroll more than 1,000 students, studying disciplines ranging from digital technology and engineering to biomedical science, cybersecurity, building construction, robotics, and more. Like the high-tech interdisciplinary buildings found on university campuses, KRAI is designed to fuel innovation, entrepreneurship, and career preparedness.
KRAI’s modern architecture and cantilevered entry canopy—hovering atop two simple columns—nod to the building sciences field, one of the school’s study areas. In addition to an open-air interior courtyard, the building will feature bridges, stairways, seating, and informal gathering areas—including a stage—that encourage incidental meetings and gatherings.
Every space is engineered to foster community and collaboration. A two-story collaboration hub, for instance, will include flexible furniture to support large gatherings and smaller-scale collaborations among students and outside partners. Like every space in the building, it will be bright, open, and reconfigurable.
Each CTE classroom is designed to function as a makerspace, filled with professional-grade equipment, technology, and tools. These malleable spaces can change as career demands evolve.
Owner/developer: Pasco County Schools
Design architect: CannonDesign
Architect of record: Hepner Architects
MEP engineer: Engineering Matrix
Structural engineer: DeCaroWillson
General contractor/construction manager: Creative Contractors