Golisano Autism Center Celebrates Ribbon Cutting

On September 12, our design team was on hand to celebrate the ribbon cutting of the new Golisano Autism Center.

The project started in 2015, when representatives from Mary Cariola Children’s Center, CP Rochester, and Al Sigl Community of Agencies recognized the need to consolidate autism support services in the Greater Rochester area. With a grant from The Golisano Foundation and successful fundraising campaign, the idea for the Golisano Autism Center was born, and SWBR was brought in to make the vision a reality.

The new center is a one-of-a-kind collaboration of health and human service agencies providing speech and occupational therapy, support and social skills groups, preschool and school-age classrooms, vocational training, and life skills development. It includes shared program spaces, a sensory gym, classrooms, and therapy rooms. The center also combines services for those receiving neuromedicine and psychiatry services.

Sensory sensitivity factored heavily into the design, including specific acoustics and sound systems along with subtle colors and finishes that help students avoid distractions that help students avoid distractions while keeping them comfortable, secure, and assist them with wayfinding. The 6,000 SF Multisensory Learning Environment includes sensory therapy area, foam pit and floor recessed trampoline, fitness area, modified basketball court, climbing wall, and area for performance stage.

SWBR also designed a new building that connects the center to the University of Rochester Medicine’s Golisano Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness Building, which supports individuals suffering with mental health or substance abuse issues. The connection building will include shared therapies and services, a café, resource lounge for parents, conference rooms, and a fitness area for therapy that can also be used by families and staff.

“Given the importance of this project, the SWBR team was humbled to be selected as designer of The Golisano Autism Center,” said Design Director Rob Simonetti, AIA. “We have taken this project to heart and were passionate about creating a supportive, unique, and fun environment for individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.”

SWBR provided architectural, structural engineering, and interior design services for the project.

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