The existing Tennessee School for the Deaf campus, located just across the Tennessee River in beautiful South Knoxville, Tennessee, consisted of 22 twelve-bedroom cottages that housed the students attending the East Tennessee campus. To reduce operational costs and improve functionality, the State of Tennessee decided to build a new two-story Residence Hall that would house all of the students and provide community space for them to gather and socialize. The site for the Residence Hall was selected to provide a direct connection to the heart of campus while creating a large central green space for outdoor activity.

The students and administration at TSD wanted to ensure that the new Residence Hall would feel like home and aesthetically provide individuality similar to the existing cottages. Thus, the concept for the design includes a community core that provides public space and circulation to four houses that flank the core. The houses are distinguished aesthetically from the core through a change in form, color, and material while still tying into the aesthetics of the existing campus buildings.

The core includes a double height social activity area, craft area, staff office, and building support spaces. The four houses are accessed via circulation surrounding the core and include kitchens, living rooms, laundry rooms, studies, staff stations, and student bedrooms and bathrooms. Two of the houses include a single bedroom wing and the other two houses include two bedroom wings to give the campus flexibility when housing students based on grade, class size, and gender. The bedroom wings are further differentiated through single and double occupant suites. The houses are designed similar to a single-family set-up so students feel at home and have the opportunity to learn every day responsibilities such as cooking, laundry, and cleaning.

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LGA is Proud to Have Worked with Tennessee School for the Deaf on Multiple Projects

Previously, Tennessee School for the Deaf called upon Lewis Group Architects to design their new 70,000 sq. ft. high school which was designed to meet the unique needs of deaf students.

The program boasts a lobby and library space that will serve both high school and middle school students as well as the community and alumni. The classrooms are collaborative spaces that focus on site lines for communication and incorporate many other design features that improve the space for communicating in sign language. Some of these features include space planning to provide site lines for all occupants; maximizing daylighting; minimizing glare through light shelves, indirect lighting, and finish selections; and emphasizing acoustical design for students with cochlear implants.

The program for the high school also includes post-secondary preparation and work-based learning opportunities for students that include administrative assistance, a school store, and a café that serves food prepared by the culinary arts program that resides in the dining hall being designed in concert with the high school.

The new high school allows TSD to expand enrollment which serves deaf children from the entire state of Tennessee. The new dining hall for the Tennessee School for the Deaf is a 16,000 sq. ft. facility that replaces an outdated dining hall. The dining hall serves all students on the campus from K-12 as well as the TSD faculty and staff. The cafeteria serves up to 250 for dining and can serve up to 500 for other events. The kitchen space allows the dining staff to prepare meals for students and staff during the day and distribute food to the cottages where the students that remain on campus eat in the evening. The dining hall also provides an outdoor patio for eating and socializing that overlooks the pedestrian quadrangle.

LGA is honored to have been called upon to once again design an innovative, state-of-the-art, and visually stunning facility for these amazing clients. We look forward to future opportunities to work in tandem with Tennessee School for the Deaf to bring their vision to life for the benefit and growth of their incredible student body and staff!

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Founded in 1982 by Jerry W. Lewis, AIA on the principles of honesty, integrity, and exemplary service for our clients, LGA is a professional corporation that has become the Firm of Choice – the firm that clients have chosen again and again for comprehensive and distinctive design, rendering, assessment, and masterplanning services.

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