School for the Deaf ren­o­va­tions

Home - Santa Fe Real Estate Guide - - CONTENT - By Paul Wei­de­man

Half of the old or­chard at the New Mex­ico School for the Deaf was re­moved as part of on­go­ing cam­pus ren­o­va­tions that have ef­fi­ciency as one driv­ing force. The north­ern part of the or­chard was sac­ri­ficed in the name of ac­cess safety; in its place is ad­di­tional park­ing and a bus turn­around for the school and the James A. Lit­tleTheater. The re­main­ing or­chard is still an im­por­tant part of the school, said NMSD plan­ning and projects man­ager Harold Moya dur­ing a late-May walk­through with se­cu­rity man­ager Jerry Or­tiz. “This was once a self-sus­tain­ing cam­pus. We had our own cows, a dairy, and the or­chard. We’ve re­duced it by about 50 per­cent so we can take care of it bet­ter. We cut some of the older trees out and we put in an ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem. We do still have har­vest days and the kids pick ap­ples and press cider.”

Three of the cam­pus’ old build­ings also were de­mol­ished in the re­cent work: the Sosaya (higher ed­u­ca­tion) Build­ing, the Laun­dry Build­ing, and the Health Care Build­ing. “We’re try­ing to de­crease square footage and make ev­ery­thing more ef­fi­cient. We are con­sol­i­dat­ing and mak­ing more prac­ti­cal spa­ces.”

Why? Is the stu­dent pop­u­la­tion down? “No,” Moya re­sponded. “We are now work­ing with the Pub­lic Schools Fa­cil­i­ties Author­ity [PSFA] and they asked us for a five-year plan and to doc­u­ment all our fa­cil­i­ties. What we found is that we’re wast­ing a lot of en­ergy and space. This is like go­ing from a full-size car to a mid-size car.”

The cam­pus is or­ga­nized with ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic around the perime­ter, while the in­te­rior is pedes­trian-ori­ented. New walk­ways are be­ing built with the deaf stu­dents in mind. “In the city, a 6-foot side­walk is con­sid­ered ADA-com­pli­ant but on this cam­pus, 8 to 10 feet makes more sense be­cause three peo­ple walk­ing and us­ing their hands to talk and see each other sign­ing re­quires more space,” Moya said.

The school is ex­pand­ing its se­cu­rity fa­cil­i­ties with guard houses sim­i­lar to the one guard­ing en­try to Santa Fe In­dian School a mile southwest. There will be more than 60 cam­eras on the site, and more at theNMSD preschool in Al­bu­querque, all of which can be mon­i­tored at this main cam­pus on Cer­ril­los Road.

A grand pedes­trian cor­ri­dor is be­ing de­vel­oped through the cen­ter of the cam­pus, just be­hind the main build­ings fac­ing on Cer­ril­los. One of its fea­tures is an en­try arch that has been pre­served from the old Health Care Build­ing. That was done in honor of the alumni who have fond mem­o­ries of spend­ing time there as stu­dents and were sad that it was be­ing razed.

The Ace­quia Trail that con­nects the Guadalupe and Baca sec­tions of the Santa Fe Rai­l­yard runs along the north­ern bor­der of the New Mex­ico School for the Deaf, be­hind a fence. It will be much busier in the near fu­ture when the St. Fran­cis Drive un­der­pass is built. “We made a trade with the city,” Moya said. “We gave them prop­erty along the trail and the city will re­place the fence, in­clud­ing a con­crete apron at the bot­tomso no­body can go un­der it, and they will pro­vide en­force­ment and put in new light­ing. This will be the first lit trail in the city.”

An­other change com­ing in the north­ern sec­tion of the cam­pus is the in­stal­la­tion of two 33-foot ed­u­ca­tional aquaponic domes from the Colorado com­pany Growing Spa­ces. Moya said stu­dents will be able to keep fish and use the waste to fer­til­ize plants.

NMSD pro­vides ed­u­ca­tional and sup­port ser­vices to deaf and hard-of-hear­ing chil­dren, from birth to age 22, from through­out the state. The roots of the school go back to 1885, when deaf pi­o­neer Lars Lar­son and his wife, Belle, be­gan teach­ing deaf stu­dents in a small adobe house at the cor­ner of Dun­lap and Irvine streets. Two years later, the New Mex­ico School for the Deaf was of­fi­cially es­tab­lished by the State Leg­is­la­ture.

The Lar­sons’ orig­i­nal house/school build­ing that was con­structed in 1891 on the cam­pus grounds was torn down

in 1916, ac­cord­ing to A Cen­tury of Progress: His­tory of the New Mex­ico School for the Deaf. It was re­placed that year by Cartwright Hall, de­signed by Isaac Rapp— the ar­chi­tect whose firm was re­spon­si­ble for many es­teemed build­ings in Santa Fe, among them the FirstWard School (1905), Mar­ian Hall (1908), Gross Kel­lyWare­house (1913), New Mex­ico Mu­seum of Art (1917), and the orig­i­nal part of La Fonda (1920). An­other early struc­ture on the NMSD cam­pus was a 1905 red-brick school build­ing that was de­signed by Rapp and built by An­to­nioWind­sor; it was razed in 1937.

The cam­pus im­prove­ment pro­gram be­gan in 2009-11 with the re­work­ing of the 1928 Con­norHall, for­merly a dor­mi­tory, for the school’s tech­nol­ogy, coun­sel­ing, and tran­si­tion de­part­ments— the lat­ter fo­cus­ing on stu­dents who are tran­si­tion­ing from school to the greater com­mu­nity and the work world— as well as art and wood­shop class­rooms. The in­te­rior walls were com­pletely re­moved in or­der to re­con­fig­ure the space for new func­tions, in­clud­ing a bet­ter class­room ori­en­ta­tion than the orig­i­nal rows of desks.

Speak­ing with the Real Es­tate Guide in late 2009, NMSD su­per­in­ten­dent Ron­ald J. Stern said the ren­o­vated fa­cil­i­ties on the cam­pus are “deaf­cen­tric, and what that means is that there are un­ob­structed vision lines and there’s a lot of natural light. Deaf peo­ple are peo­ple of the eye.” In the new class­rooms, desks can be ar­ranged in a horse­shoe or cir­cu­lar shape, so stu­dents and teach­ers can see one an­other.

Next up, in 2011-12, was the ren­o­va­tion of Dillon Hall De­signed by Gor­don Street and built in 1936, Dillon is the school’s pri­mary high school/mid­dle school build­ing. In 2013-14, a new, con­tem­po­rary-style library and mu­seum was built be­hind Dillon Hall. As on all of the con­struc­tion projects in the cur­rent im­prove­ment pro­gram, it was done by Dekker/Perich/Sabatini Ar­chi­tects and con­trac­tor Brad­bury Stamm.

“Last year we did Site Phase 1, which was the newfence and land­scap­ing along Cer­ril­los Road,” Moya said. “The cur­rent work is Site Phase 2. Of the $9mil­lion for this phase, we’ve spent about $6 mil­lion on in­fra­struc­ture: two miles of new wa­ter, sewer, storm drains, elec­tri­cal, and fiber op­tics. In­stead of be­ing a hun­dred years be­hind, as the old­est school in the state, we’re go­ing to be cut­ting-edge.

“We’re tak­ing down a lit­tle over an acre, about 40,000 square feet of old build­ings. We went through the his­toric preser­va­tion process and we’re ac­tu­ally re­cy­cling some beams and cor­bels for other projects, in­clud­ing for the inside of Del­gado Hall.”

Ren­o­va­tions at Del­gado (built as the cam­pus bak­ery in 1931) are com­ing up. Moya said the cur­rent work will be fin­ished by the time school starts this fall. Then, in mid2017, crews will start on Del­gado Hall and neigh­bor­ing Cartwright Hall, be­gin­ning with as­bestos abate­ment. “We’ll gut the insides, but be­cause they’re his­toric, we’ll main­tain the ex­te­rior. But we’ll do new stucco, newroofs, newwin­dows and doors, and also new se­cu­rity and ADA ac­cess.”

Del­gado holds the ad­min­is­tra­tion and stu­dent ser­vices of­fices, while Cartwright houses the school’s fam­ily hous­ing and the out­reach pro­gram. The move to re­duce un­needed space will also man­i­fest here, as rear wings added to both build­ings in the 1970s will be re­moved.

Fu­ture phases in the up­dat­ing plan will ad­dress the din­ing hall in 2018, the gym in 2019, the the­ater in 2020, and fi­nally ren­o­va­tions of the dor­mi­to­ries.


In late May, work­ers build a cir­cu­lar out­door class­room at the New Mex­ico School for the Deaf. Be­low, a ren­der­ing shows the new, cen­tral walk­way— at the left side is the en­try arch pre­served from the Health Care Build­ing. Op­po­site, a ren­der­ing of the cen­tral cam­pus and a photo of the en­try round­about un­der con­struc­tion

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