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September 29, 2005

NEWS RELEASE: Gallaudet Selects Design Firm

From: Gallaudet - Sep 29, 2005

Gallaudet Selects SmithGroup Design Language and Communication Center

Washington, D.C., September 26, 2005 – SmithGroup, the nation’s eighth-largest architecture, engineering, interiors and planning firm, has been selected to design the new $28 million James Lee Sorenson Language and Communication Center (SLCC) at Washington D.C.’s Gallaudet University, one of the world’s leading institutions for the deaf and hard of hearing.

“The Sorenson Center is intended as a true landmark, and will occupy an important site on this historically and architecturally significant campus,” stated Tom Butcavage, SmithGroup’s lead designer for the project. “It really is a great design opportunity.”

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 from Amherst, MA, 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.


About Gallaudet University
Gallaudet University is the world leader in liberal education and career development for deaf and hard-of-hearing undergraduate students. The University enjoys an international reputation for the outstanding graduate programs it provides deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing students, as well as for the quality of the research it conducts on the history, language, culture, and other topics related to deaf people. In addition, the University’s Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center serves deaf and hard-of-hearing children at its two demonstration schools and throughout the nation by developing, implementing, and disseminating innovative educational strategies. Gallaudet is located in Washington, DC.