Opening of new revolutionary Career and Technical Education Center underscores district's commitment to student success

The $33 million CTE Center offers career-focused and technical “cross collaborative” education for the Frisco, Texas school district’s 11th and 12th-grade students

shwlogo-h-stnd-gg-cmykFRISCO, Texas, January 19, 2008 – Frisco Independent School District’s new $33 million Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center, which opened in September 2008, has received overwhelming student response. Located at 9889 Wade Boulevard in Frisco, Texas, the 125,618-square-foot CTE Center is a facility where college-bound and career-bound 11th and 12th grade students engage in a cross-collaborative experience that merges real-world professional environments with educational programs.

Dallas-based SHW Group, one of the world’s largest educational architecture and design firms, served as the project’s architect, and Cadence McShane’s Dallas office served as the construction manager. The contemporary two-story structure – which features a masonry exterior with composite metal and zinc accent panels and interior finishes that include exposed structural systems of steel and wood – was built to accommodate 970 students from any of the four high schools located in Frisco ISD. Comprehensive prerequisite classes and an extensive application are required to attend the Center.

The overall goal for the CTE Center was to consolidate resources across multiple campuses within a single building. Thus, the architect designed it to allow students – both college and career bound – to explore their interests and focus on possible job options. As a result, the tools, environment and curriculum the students are exposed to closely resemble what they will experience in the real world as young adults.

For example, the center offers a full-service restaurant, credit union and bank, a court room for mock trials, TV and radio studios, computer and animation labs, an architecture lab, marketing and media centers, medical and veterinary science labs, a warehouse, a copy center and a mail room. A 4,000-square-foot greenhouse was also constructed to support the horticulture curriculum. The CTE Center also houses technology laboratories, administrative areas, a testing center, an employee training area, and a variety of classrooms, including one that is sponsored by global IT innovator CISCO.

“We worked with both the school district and the students to develop a design that combines a traditional career and technology center with a prep center that offers advanced coursework for students,” said Mark Gerner, managing principle at SHW Group. “Because of its unique location -situated between a community college and a high school site – the CTE Center serves as a physical and symbolic bridge that links secondary and higher education.”

SHW designed the center to offer unique “cross-collaborative” opportunities. For example, students from the marketing program team up with students from the TV and radio programs to write, shoot and edit television ads promoting sales and other activities. These ads, as well as other content created by CTE Center students, are displayed on a two-story flat screen media wall located in the center’s centralized atrium. With the ability to divide into 15 screens, this wall inspires student interest in the various programs and facilitates communication among students, teachers, administrators and the community.

“The various activities and amenities offered at the CTE Center teach our students both skill sets and collaboration – qualities that are necessary to succeed in high-demand occupations in the 21st century’s competitive global economy,” said Wes Cunningham, Ed.D., director of Career and Technical Education at Frisco ISD.

About SHW Group

Specializing in both K-12 and higher-education projects, SHW Group is one of the world’s largest educational architecture and design firms. More than just an architecture firm, the company is known for its comprehensive collaboration with educators, cognitive researchers and strategic planners to design innovative facilities that support the learning process. Founded in 1945, SHW Group has grown to nearly 400 employees and seven studios nationwide. For more information, please visit

About Frisco ISD

Frisco Independent School District is a public school district based in Frisco, Texas. The district covers portions of the cities of Frisco, Little Elm, McKinney, and Plano, as well as unincorporated land in Denton and Collin counties. The district is one of the fastest growing in Texas. In 1995, Frisco ISD had four schools, and since then, has added 22 new schools, opening two-to-six campuses annually. Enrollment for 2007-2008 was more than 27,000 students. For more information, please visit

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Media Contact: Claire Bloxom, (214) 329-9191