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April 2, 2007

Gallaudet groundbreaking signals new era in deaf education and research

From: Gallaudet - Apr 2, 2007

Gallaudet groundbreaking signals new era in deaf education and research

(WASHINGTON) Gallaudet University, the world’s only liberal arts university for deaf and hard of hearing people, will break ground on a new facility that underscores its commitment to the rich language of American Sign Language and support of visual learning.

The groundbreaking for the James Lee Sorenson Language and Communication Center (SLCC) is scheduled for 4:30 p.m., April 4 on the Gallaudet campus.

The state-of-the-art facility, set to open in 2008, will create a visu-centric space for collaborative learning, teaching, and research in an environment supported by and created from Gallaudet’s commitment to American Sign Language (ASL) and visual learning. The building will serve not only as a model for academic collaboration at Gallaudet but will also serve as an architectural exemplar for all future construction projects at the University. .

“The SLCC is very much a deaf and ASL-centered building which promotes collaborative efforts in teaching, learning, research and service,” Gallaudet University President Dr. Robert Davila said. “The planning of the SLCC marks the first time in history where deaf people provided this level of in-depth input on the visual-centered nature of the building. All designs were developed with the understanding that ASL will be the primary face-to-face language used in the building.”

The university plans to move several departments under one roof, hoping to foster coordinated efforts across academic disciplines. The SLCC will house the following departments:

  • ASL and Deaf Studies
  • Communication Studies
  • Government and History
  • Hearing, Speech, and Language Sciences
  • Linguistics
  • Sociology
In addition to these academic departments, the Center will also have a student media center, classrooms, collaboration rooms, video relay service booths, and house Gallaudet’s Hearing and Speech Center. There are also plans under way to create a deaf history timeline in the building which will recognize and celebrate the richness of deaf culture and the community.