Perkins School for the Blind propels its Watertown, MA, campus into the future with the dedication of the Grousbeck Center for Students & Technology on Monday, Nov. 7.
Inspired by a parent’s observation that her teen-aged son was missing out on the kinds of natural social interactions that help youngsters become young adults, the new building contains space for playing high-tech games, making music, learning about new technology, practicing vocational skills and just plain hanging out.
Built by Shawmut Design and Construction from architectural plans created by the Gund Partnership, each aspect of the 17,000 sf. Grousbeck Center is designed to enable innovation, interaction, and independence. Singular features like the world’s first interactive tactile audio campus map and a 3D topographical map that was sculpted by a robotic arm add to the futuristic feel.
The Grousbeck Center is unique because it is not only a Student Center, but also a world-class teacher training facility. Controlled by iPads, which are readily accessible to people with visual impairments, meeting and training rooms at the Grousbeck Center are wired for international access to connect educators in all corners of the globe through video conferencing.
The Grousbeck Center was built with a lead gift of $10 million from the Grousbeck Family Foundation. That leadership gift has been a key element in Perkins ongoing Touch Our World Comprehensive Campaign to raise $130 million. The funds will advance capital projects such as the Grousbeck Center, technology upgrades, educational programs, the Braille and Talking Book Library and international partnerships. As of this summer, the campaign has raised $104 million, with 20 months to go. BD+C