May 11, 2022

PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: American School for the Deaf - Gallaudet-Clerc Education Center

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 Founded in 1817, the American School for the Deaf (ASD) was the first permanent school for the deaf in the United States and is the birthplace of American Sign Language. ASD is a world-renowned provider of comprehensive educational programs and services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The iconic Gallaudet Hall with the white cupola became outdated, could no longer serve ASD’s academic needs, and needed to be replaced with a new efficient state-of-the-art building. The new academic building, Gallaudet-Clerc Education Center, is designed to accommodate different methods of student and faculty communication: sign language; written language; assistive devices; and oral.

Features include:

·         Flexible state-of-the-art technology.

·         Adjustable light levels.

·         A visual public address system.

·         Interactive whiteboard technology.

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In addition to specially equipped classrooms, the design features science and life skills labs, speech, occupational, and physical therapy workspaces, an audiological suite, library, student health center, kitchen, and cafeteria. The new facility incorporates a Birth-to-Three suite and serves national and international students ages 3-22 years.

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When designing the Gallaudet-Clerc Education Center, the goal was to create an environment where all visitors feel welcome using simple, thoughtful, and inclusive design strategies. The design maximizes visibility to allow open communication where students and faculty can see each other; color is used strategically to minimize distraction, and corridors feature large beveled corners for increased visibility and safety. Deaf and hard-of-hearing students are highly visible learners and sensitive to sound waves. To increase comfort, interior finishes such as flooring, ceiling panels, and furnishings were intentionally selected to reduce vibration. The interiors of Gallaudet-Clerc Education Center focus on the movement of people and the use of space.

Gallaudet-Clerc Education Center

139 N Main St, West Hartford, CT 06107

Client: American School for the Deaf

Completion Date: 2013

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