CMA Spotlight: Jay Taggart, AIA, Principal


Utah Architect is Passionate about Education Architecture and Remote Learning

Curtis Miner Architecture (CMA) Principal Jay Taggart, AIA is an award-winning designer whose experience covers the gamut of facility types, including commercial, healthcare, assisted living, education, higher education, municipal, multi-family, and tenant improvements. He is particularly passionate about education architecture and the way each facility uniquely contributes to student success.

Jay’s personal interest and experience in education architecture design began when he served as the Principal-in-Charge for the Spectrum Academy Autism school in Pleasant Grove, Utah. It was during this project that Jay saw how attention to even the smallest design details can mold how students excel and grow through their educational experience.

When it comes to education architecture, Jay said he genuinely enjoys the challenge of creating a space that flows and functions well, is safe and sustainable, and enhances the learning environment. “I enjoy creating safe places where learning and growth can occur. Several of my education projects are autism-focused,” Jay elaborated. Education spaces for children with autism are deliberately created with sensory elements in mind, and Jay knows that even the smallest features in these student’s environments can impact their learning.

Educational facilities are complex in that they involve many intricacies that cannot be overlooked. From state-of-the-art technologies, evolving teaching methods, and internal and student drop-off flow to spaces that can span broad age ranges and abilities, architects must take great care in providing intentional design that always has the students in mind. Educational facilities also come with challenging schedule restraints, given that students need to occupy the space by August when school starts. This shortens design time and construction, so Jay and the CMA team work very closely with each general contractor from start to finish to ensure facilities are finished on time.

At CMA, we listen to our clients first then respond to their needs through concerted teamwork. Specializing in autism-based educational facilities, we work closely with our interior designers and design consultants—including specialty consultants such as kitchen designers. With increases in technology and 3D capabilities, CMA enjoys the mobility of taking our designs to our clients, which will be increasingly important as we face this new era of remote learning and the challenges it brings forth.

 “Safety, flexibility, and designing for the special changes that will occur as a result of remote learning are focus areas for future design,” Jay foresees. “We anticipate increased remote learning for basic courses, at least for higher education.” In the age of COVID-19, CMA anticipates fewer offices and classrooms, with some existing spaces being remodeled and repurposed for other uses. Designing in 3D using BIM technology, our team is able to show each user group their spaces through renderings. Utilizing virtual reality results in ideal spaces driven by the end-user.

With a specialization in education architecture, CMA leads with quality design and outstanding service to our clients, and our team stands ready to find unique ways to meet University, Charter, and School District needs.