Willie Ross School for the Deaf to Hold Grand Reopening, Ribbon Cutting on Sept. 17

LONGMEADOW — Willie Ross School for the Deaf (WRSD) will hold a grand reopening and ribbon cutting for the newly completed renovation and expansion to its Sidney Cooley Administration Building on Friday, Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to noon at 32 Norway St., Longmeadow.

WRSD President and CEO Bert Carter; Dr. J. Robert Kirkwood, chair of the WRSD board of trustees; and George Balsley, vice chair of the board, will offer remarks at the event, which will also offer light refreshments and tours of the new space.

The new space on the school’s Longmeadow campus accommodates its growing needs and programming. The renovation and expansion took two years to complete and added a second story to its administration building that features new space for interpreters, an updated audiology center, a redesigned main entrance, improved wheelchair access, new space for the school’s Work Study Program, and upgraded administrative technology. The project cost $2.5 million.

The comprehensive renovation also included new landscaping of the property and replacement of windows and insulation to increase energy efficiency. WRSD will also begin construction of a new school playground in the fall, expected to be completed in the spring of 2022. An online crowdfunding campaign for the new playground (www.givecampus.com/v5xjfu) is underway and has reached 77% of its goal.

In recent years, WRSD has expanded its audiology services to the public, accepting pediatric and adult patients for hearing evaluations and hearing-aid fittings, which requires more space than the school had previously.

According to Carter, “the completion of this campus-renovation project will allow us to better meet the needs of our deaf community and make our facilities more accessible to our students and the public. We look forward to unveiling our new and improved campus on September 17.”