Maryland School for the Blind, Preschool Early Learning and Outreach Renovation/Addition

Baltimore, Maryland

This building provides integrative instruction for children from infancy through 5 years old who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities. The first floor houses the Early Learning Program for Infants & Toddlers as well as students in preschool and kindergarten. The second floor houses the statewide Outreach Services offices, providing ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$411.00FEATURED IN2018 Educational Interiors ShowcaseINTERIOR CATEGORYSpecial-Needs InteriorsSUB CATEGORYRenovation for students from infancy to age 21, their families, and local school system staff.
The scope of the project included renovating and adding on to a 1955 single-story high school with a two-story wing, and installing a playground. The design transformed an antiquated facility into a safe learning environment that responds to the needs and abilities of specialized students.
Examples of how this was done include providing center-based learning environments that simulate everyday experiences such as going to a grocery store, bank, theater, library, and post office; providing large, flexible open spaces such as a Motor Gym and Multipurpose Room from an original structure composed of small spaces; providing strategically situated large restrooms with lifts and changing stations; accommodating new HVAC infrastructure within very low floor-to-floor heights; creatively manipulating finishes, color and texture to assist with wayfinding; redefining vehicular and pedestrian site circulation to accommodate a variety of mobilities; and providing easy access to the new playground in the lower quadrangle.
This transformative project has been embraced enthusiastically by staff, teachers, students and their families as a facility well suited to serving their unique needs now and into the future.