New Dorm to Be Built at School for Deaf

By Crompton, Janice | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), March 21, 2013 | Go to article overview

New Dorm to Be Built at School for Deaf


Crompton, Janice, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


The campus of the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf is about to get a major makeover in the form of a new $9 million residence hall for students.

"We're very excited about this new building," said Don Rhoten, CEO and executive director of The Programs of WPSD, the school's parent organization.

Although school won't be in session, the 144-year-old campus in Edgewood will be abuzz this summer as the 50-year-old residence hall for boys is demolished to make room for the new facility.

A dormitory for girls will be repurposed as a dining hall and snack bar.

The new 30,000-square-foot residence hall will provide housing for 60 elementary through high school students and will be split into different pods by age group, Mr. Rhoten said.

Floors for boys and girls will alternate, he said.

Each pod will house eight students and will include individual bedrooms with a common living area, kitchen and work space with Internet access.

"So it's going to be a home-like environment where the kids will be able to bond," Mr. Rhoten said.

Video phones will be available for students to call home, along with infrastructure for laptops and other electronic devices.

"We're hoping that it's completed for the start of the 2014-15 school year," he said.

WPSD is a nonprofit school that provides tuition-free services and instruction for deaf or hard-of-hearing children from birth through high school.

The school has 190 students enrolled, and about 40 percent use the residence halls, said Matt Campion, director of institutional advancement. About one-third of the student body lives in the eastern part of Pennsylvania, he said.

During a typical week, students arrive Sunday afternoon and return home by bus Friday afternoon. …

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