Completed in 2009 for a construction cost of $35 million, Delaware School for the Deaf (DSD) consists of a K-12 school, 40-bed residence hall and statewide services center to serve the entire deaf population in the state of Delaware. The new school is anchored by a central courtyard lined with classrooms that are clustered into age appropriate "neighborhoods." The gracious entry canopy opens onto a wide central corridor and the school's main public areas: a 300-seat auditorium, an open and day-lit dining room and a full-size gymnasium.
Designed for a population ranging from birth to age 20, the building was designed around visual communication and celebrates the school's commitment to American Sign Language (ASL). Every one of the more than 40 classrooms is lit with dimmable, overhead indirect lighting as well as clerestory windows that provide balanced, diffused natural light. The library is zoned to provide a variety of age appropriate spaces for kindergarten through high school with opportunities for independent reading, group work and class structure. Dedicated art, science, drama, and kitchen spaces provide opportunities for multi-sensory learning.
As with any school, children are challenged with daily and yearly transitions across their academic career. The building's sensory design helps ease the anxiety of transition, with natural daylighting, predictable way finding, and comfortable, visually appealing finishes. Color, pattern, and texture of corridor finishes bring distinct identity to each academic neighborhood. Infant and toddler rooms take the sensory strategy one step further. Radiant heated floors help keep the school's youngest children comfortable and ready to play.
Passion + Perspective
Mackey Mitchell has done a phenomenal job. They follow through on their promises on timelines, and they listen. Their designs indicate, "You are hearing what we're saying!" They have been extremely responsive, approachable, and amiable.
- Ed Bosso
Assistant Superintendent, Delaware School for the Deaf