For generations, most high schools have been designed with a cookie-cutter approach “that can be reproduced easily,” said Ashley Smith, who works with the architectural firm Smith Design Group. But that’s certainly not true of the new THINC College & Career Academy in LaGrange, Ga., which Smith helped design.

Housed in a building on the campus of West Georgia Technical College, THINC looks nothing like a traditional high school. Instead, it has the look and feel of a Google office building, with brightly colored carpet tiles, lots of glass walls, and stylish furniture that can be moved...

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