The Frederick campus of the Maryland School for the Deaf opened it doors in 1868 and welcomed 34 students to two stone barracks that once housed captured Hessian soldiers during the Revolutionary War. The campus has since undergone significant modifications and renovations and now provides a modern, nurturing and stimulating learning environment for deaf and hard of hearing students. The school has a diverse student population and a corresponding curriculum approved by the Maryland State Department of Education that includes American Sign Language as well as spoken word instruction and awards students Maryland High School diplomas. Hord Coplan Macht Architects sought Acentech’s expertise in addressing environmental noise concerns and mechanical system noise and vibration control, especially since deaf individuals are often more sensitive to structure-borne vibration.

The new building is located close to Route 355 and the intersection of Interstates 70 and 40. Frederick Municipal Airport is in the vicinity and close to the northeast side of campus. Transportation sources create noise and vibrations, which could adversely affect acoustical conditions in all of the learning spaces. Therefore, the architectural design goals included appropriately low background sound levels and low reverberation times.

Acentech worked closely with the architect and mechanical engineer, basing our recommendations on sound levels we obtained during our monitoring of the site during design and on our experience with similar projects. This project focused on the new Elementary School and Family Education/Early Intervention Center — a single-story building that includes classrooms, media center, gymnasium, cafeteria, small performance stage, audiology testing facilities and various support spaces.

The result is an acoustically sound building that provides a great learning environment for the students.

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