School for the Deaf and the Blind

C. Mark Openshaw Education Center, Salt Lake Center

Jacoby Architects designed and programmed this new Salt Lake Center for the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, a new facility providing education, therapy, and services for varying levels of sensory, behavioral, physical, and cognitive abilities.

The 50,000 square foot, $14 million facility is home to a diverse list of functions containing: a full size gymnasium with indoor/outdoor performing arts capability; orientation & mobility area including climbing walls, ball pits, monkey bars, overhead balance swings, ballet bars, and balance beams; indoor clubhouses containing physical and occupational therapy training; multi-functional kitchen for vocational and life skills training, children’s dining area, and event concessions; early childhood classrooms customized for sensory disabilities; Snoezelen room (sensory/light room); enclosed courtyard with children’s playground and sensory/exploration gardens; video conferencing rooms; boardroom and advisory council area overlooking gymnasium from above with adjacent roof garden access; and of course, lots and lots of storage!

Providing navigational points of reference and clear wayfinding, in and out of the building, became a necessary design concept when developing the form and selecting materials. An overall canvas of light-colored mass is highlighted with high contrast accents of bright red, illuminated features to create landmarks throughout. The building is a bright, fun, playful place for the full range of occupants including children, parents, faculty, staff, administration, researchers, and clinicians.