Farmington High School

Farmington High School

2018 | Farmington, Utah United States

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Fluid classrooms for an education in motion.

Just as businesses evolve their technologies with unprecedented speed, schools must also be ready to change and adapt to prepare students for the workplace—and whatever it may ask of them in the future. The challenge? None of us can predict exactly how to prepare tomorrow’s workforce, especially when, according to a report published by Dell Technologies, 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet. So how can architects design today’s schools for the unknown futures of tomorrow’s students? According to Jeanne Jackson, FAIA, principal of VCBO Architecture, “We design a high school that can transform.”

With about 75,000 students, Davis School District is one of the largest in Utah, and has an extremely progressive curriculum that embraces project- and problem-based collaborative learning for their students at all levels of education. When it was time to design the district’s tenth new high school in the fall of 2014, VCBO Architecture went through a rigorous selection process and was ultimately hired to “design a high school for the future.”

Jackson created Learning Suites that contain a variety of classroom sizes (Focused, Enlarged and Extra-Large) to accommodate different types of instruction. These classrooms surround a fully supervised Collaboration Area, which accommodates individual or small group tutoring, project work and additional learning space if student population outgrows classrooms. “Open floor plans, daylighting, mobility and flexibility lead the responsive environments of the new high school. The result—in which flexible spaces and furnishings replace classrooms and desks—is uniquely adaptable to the future of education,” said Jackson.

Instead of teachers “owning” the same classroom throughout the day, Jackson’s design provided individual offices for teachers. Classroom spaces are shared between teachers to ensure that each lesson takes place in the environment that’s best suited for the lesson. “By providing individual teacher offices with teachers sharing classrooms, we not only treat teachers as professionals; we also achieve an 85-90% utilization of the school in lieu of the 60-75% utilization typical when a teacher uses their classroom as a prep area,” Jackson explained.

Designed to last.

Now complete, the 405,000-square foot Farmington High School opened in August 2018 and will accommodate 2,100 students. When it was time to make material selections, Jeanne contacted Tarkett and designer Jhane Barnes, asking if the company had a carpet that would mirror the building’s external façade. The note happened to come just as Jhane was finalizing the pattern for Edifice, and Jeanne was able to influence the product’s final color palette. “It was critical to us that we find a high-quality carpet that would provide the color palette we needed and the pattern to complement the design motif. Additionally, we are always looking for a product that will hide dirt best. The color selections of Edifice, along with the pattern, create a carpet that we think will hold up to dirt very well,” Jeanne said. Jeanne chose the Powerbond® construction for large, collaborative spaces and 18” x 36” tiles for classrooms. Abrasive Action was also used in the building’s vestibules to trap dirt and protect flooring throughout the rest of the building. “The carpet has definitely fulfilled our expectations. It’s so beautiful. Everybody who sees it loves this carpet.”


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Fluid classrooms for an education in motion.

Designer/ Architect

VCBO Architecture