November 1, 2017 – Lewis Contractors recently completed renovations to the Maryland School for the Blind’s Andrews Hall—creating a state-of-the-art facility for the campus’ preschool and kindergarten programs. The Preschool, Early Learning and Outreach Center is a place for children with visual impairment ages birth to five years to promote readiness for school-age programs in an integrative setting. Within the Center are two distinct programs; Infants & Toddlers and center-based programs for both Preschool and Kindergarten.
The nearly 37,000 SF renovated and expanded Preschool, Early Learning and Outreach Center—Lewis’ fourth major project on the Maryland School for the Blind campus—includes both a comprehensive building renovation and two smaller additions. Due to the school’s curriculum and unique needs of the student population, the new facility contains not only standard classroom space but also a Low Vision Clinic, Braille Workroom, testing area, conference rooms and offices for administrators as well as social workers. The first floor classrooms help provide life skills to the students through such unique environments as classrooms for construction: a Braille study space, multi-sensory room, greenhouse, and auto body shop complete with dozens of motorized child-sized vehicles for both play and learning.
Common area hallway construction mimics a small town Main Street with classroom entries constructed to replicate a Laundry, Post Office, Grocery Store, Theater, and Bank for the purpose of teaching and practicing practical life skills. Replete with cut out trees, silhouette people and pets, and floor finishes replicating grassy areas, the bright colored and textural finishes appeal to students who are vision impaired.
The newly constructed additions include construction of the motor gym, pantry, vestibules, entry ramps and clerestories to bring additional natural light into the building. The project has been designed to achieve LEED Silver Certification and was completed on a fast-track schedule in time for the 2018-2019 school year.