Miami Lighthouse for the Blind celebrated the topping out of its expanded facility with a ceremony on Mar. 31, unveiling its school’s new name, Miami Lighthouse Academy.
In a multifaceted educational approach to serving students who are blind, the school contains pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first and second grades and is one component within the Miami Lighthouse children’s programs. Other children’s programs include Early Intervention for Blind Babies, and services for elementary and middle school children during the summer, school holidays and Saturdays.
The topping-out ceremony pays homage to a long-held construction tradition, marking the installation of the highest piece of structural steel on the new building’s fifth floor roof.
Construction is expected to be completed in time to begin the new school year in August.
Miami Lighthouse, located for nearly 90 years at 601 SW Eighth Ave. on the Mary M. and Sash A. Spencer Campus, hosted the topping out ceremony in collaboration with Miller Construction Company and Wolfberg Alvarez Architects. The 30,000-square-foot expansion to the current 115,000-square-foot facility was made possible by private donations in response to a challenge grant from local philanthropists.
This classroom expansion will enable Miami Lighthouse Academy to have the capacity to teach blind kindergarten, first and second grade students in a highly accessible learning environment separate from their early learning pre-school/pre-kindergarten early learners.
Blind and visually impaired children from communities throughout Miami-Dade learn side-by-side with their sighted classmates from the surrounding neighborhood, ages 1-4, enrolled in the 50/50 inclusive learning environment that has been recognized as a national model for inclusive learning. This unique learning initiative, in partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, The Children’s Trust and the Early Learning Coalition of Miami Dade/Monroe, addresses a need identified by the U.S. Department of Education to support inclusion of children with disabilities and school readiness in a high quality learning environment.