Alumni eNewsletter: Gallaudet Selects SmithGroup to Design Center (Archives)

Gallaudet University has selected SmithGroup, the nation’s eighth-largest architecture, engineering, interiors and planning firm, to design the new $28 million James Lee Sorenson Language and Communication Center (SLCC).

The 83,000-gross-square-foot academic teaching and research facility will include classrooms, laboratories, clinics, libraries and office space. Departments housed in the new Center will include American Sign Language and Deaf Studies, and Hearing, Speech, and Language Sciences.

"We are very impressed with SmithGroup's clear understanding of the new building's purpose," said Dr. Jane Fernandes, Gallaudet University Provost. "We look forward to working with them to construct a state-of-the-art facility for deaf and hard of hearing people."

In November 2004, Sorenson Media and the Sorenson Legacy Foundation donated $5 million to Gallaudet University to create the Sorenson Language and Communication Center. The building is scheduled to start construction in June 2006, with completion targeted for November 2007.

Joining the SmithGroup design team is George Balsley, a deaf architect who will offer special expertise to ensure that the architectural, lighting, acoustic and audiovisual aids are supportive of a deaf design environment. Deaf-friendly elements incorporated into the building’s design will include diffused lighting that is not glaring, powerful speaker systems to encourage reverberation, telephone access technologies such as video and text relay services, closed captioning, and open flexible classrooms to facilitate visual access.

Posted: 6 Oct 2005

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