GSC Architects was commissioned to assess the much-needed Texas School for the Deaf campus and prioritize needs. GSC summarized the findings within a thorough Project Assessment Package. Kiewit joined the team, and the Kiewit/GSC team prioritized the schedule for completing the work. The team developed road maps to track the progress and multiple funding sources as well as the schedule. Work addressed by the Kiewit+GSC team included upgrading the fire alarm/fire suppression system, refurbishing the campus chiller, performing civil, infrastructure, and roofing improvements, and replacing the medium voltage cabling.
• FLUORESCENT TAPE WARNINGS – Throughout campus, we used tape warnings, along with construction fences, to keep students out of construction zones. We quickly learned the warnings were not enough and erected fences outside of construction fences for safety.
• BLACKOUTS – The aged Main Distribution System caused random blackouts in the neighborhoods. A Critical Needs Item, GSC Architects issued a separate package for Kiewit to bid separately. We worked with TSD to schedule work during the holiday break, closing half the campus at a time. This carefully coordinated schedule allowed TSD staff to move students off campus for a short time. As a result, the Spring semester began on time.
• BLUE LIGHT ALARMS -TSD was required to upgrade their fire alarm system, tracked through the Austin Fire Department. GSC Architects designed the Blue Light System, which sounds the alarm AND flashes blue light to alert students and instructors of a true EMERGENCY. The Blue Light System also connects to everyone’s phone so that they can see it quickly.
• BED SHAKERS – GSC researched bed shaker alarms for those students on campus which would wake them, prompting them to look at their phone or the blue light alarms. Unfortunately, the bed shakers were cost-prohibitive and did not remain in the project.
• VISITORS, FILMMAKERS, MEDIA – Due to its location, striking views, and historical buildings, TSD is routinely used for filmmaking and media events. GSC and TSD planned events around the student’s daily routines and critical construction.
• GYMNASIUM BLEACHERS – The original manually operated bleacher were difficult to open and close and past their life use. GSC designed new motorized bleachers in TSD’s school colors. When open, they spell TEXAS in the seating area and RANGERS on the end closures.
• PRESERVING HISTORY – The oldest operational building on campus, the Heritage Center, required a new roof and gutters and new door hardware. GSC Architects carefully designed the gutters and hardware to blend with the building and not distract from its heritage. We also salvaged one of the original iron signs for the Texas School for the Deaf and mounted it on the Deaf Smith Center with the new roof installation.
CLIENT Texas Facilities Commission SERVICES PROVIDED Full A/E Services, Planning/Programming, Architectural Design, Interior Design and Construction Administration PHOTOGRAPHER Impressive Spaces