Miller Construction expands Miami Lighthouse for the Blind

The Fort Lauderdale construction company takes on a complex project for the 90-year-old organization

Miller Construction’s new product will benefit one of Miami’s most well-known organizations for children.

The Fort Lauderdale construction company recently launched the 30,000-square-foot expansion of Miami Lighthouse for the Blind’s Lighthouse Learning Center for Children at 601 SW Eighth Ave. The five-story expansion (rendering pictured above) will include 8,595 square feet of classroom and office space, plus two levels of covered parking.

Miller, founded in 1973, plans to keep facilities operational during the 11-month construction. Because of the project’s complexibities in connecting existing structures to the new construction—requiring tying into the storm drainage system and matching floor elevations—Miller is employing building information modeling for clash detection.

The project will also include design features that align with Miami Lighthouse’s mission of serving the visually impaired. (In fact, it’s the oldest and largest private agency in Florida assisting persons of all ages who are blind and visually impaired.) All signage and elevators will incorporate Braille. Three stair towers leading to specific locations will help students exit the building safely, and the build includes a playground and green space where students can learn orientation and mobility skills and play in a safe environment.

“Miami Lighthouse has grown to meet demand with a series of expansions at the site over the years,” says Miller president Brian Sudduth. “This latest project will tie all sections together seamlessly, adding new facilities and some flex space for future use. We’ve planned the construction to minimize any disruption to Miami Lighthouse’s vital day-to-day operations for the community.”

The expansion was designed by Wolfberg Alvarez, which is also the project’s civil and MEP engineer. Bliss & Nyitray Inc. is structural engineer. The expansion to the current Miami Lighthouse facility was made possible by private donations in response to a challenge grant from a local philanthropist.

“Blind and visually impaired children from communities throughout Miami-Dade will attend alongside sighted classmates from the surrounding Brickell neighborhood,” said Virginia Jacko, president and CEO of Miami Lighthouse, which serves 90,000 people a year. “With the expertise of Miller Construction, we will be able to open our expanded facility by the beginning of the 2021 school year so our blind and visually impaired students in Pre-K through first grade can easily transition to public schools.”

Rendering credit: Wolfberg Alvarez
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