Saturday, January 24, 2009

New school for the visually impaired is being built in Texas

Members of the Austin community alongside local dignitaries will join the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired students, staff and board of directors for a groundbreaking ceremony commemorating the three phases of construction on Friday, January 23 at 12:30 pm behind the Main Instructional Building.

The first phase of the construction began in 2007 when an elementary residential complex consisting of three student duplexes, playroom and residential office; a residential dormitory; and a four-unit student apartment were built. This phase was completed in 2008. Currently, Phase II includes the Main Instructional and Public Square Buildings.

Construction of five new buildings includes a two-story main instructional building, a natatorium, student activity center, kitchen and dining facility, and fine arts auditorium began this past December.

Construction on this more than 118,360-square-foot-project will continue while classes are in session and is expected to be finished by June 2010. The project team includes owner, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, project manager, Texas Facilities Commission general contractor, Walton Construction Company, LLC and architect, Halff Associates Inc.“The groundbreaking ceremony marks a historic day for the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired,” said Superintendent William Daugherty. “We are celebrating the construction of a facility to advance the education of Texas students who are blind and visually impaired, and create a campus suited for the 21st century and beyond.”

A third phase was awarded on Wednesday, January 21. This phase consists of the construction of seven new residential facilities. All buildings will be environmentally efficient and conform to the Americans With Disabilities Act standards. The project team selected includes Walton Construction and architect, Graeber, Simmons & Cowan.

Graeber, Simmons & Cowan also are working on several new building designs. Those include a new outreach and conference center, a new career education building, a new staff and IT office building, and a new elementary school building.

Superintendent Daugherty will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony. A reception will follow in the school’s cafeteria.

Funds for the campus improvement were originally authorized in the November 2001 general election. Texas voters approved the Proposition 8 amendment, which authorized $850 million in general obligation bond authority.

Walton Construction Company, LLC, which maintains full-service offices in Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, Mo., Dallas, and New Orleans is ranked among the top contractors in the United States by Engineering News Record. Established in 1985, Walton Construction has grown steadily to become a leader in pre-construction, general contracting, design-build and construction management services.


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