Infant Deaf Center Celebrates New Site

Friday May 23, 2003

After 23 years, the Center For the Education of the Infant Deaf (CEID) will finally have a space of its own.  

In a ceremony Wednesday afternoon, CEID Executive Director Jill Ellis and Board of Directors President Eric Horodas unveiled plans for the 6,000-square-foot building, which is scheduled to be completed by January 2004. Ellis said the new space, located on Grayson Street at San Pablo Avenue, will allow CEID to double the number of infants it can work with to about 60.  

At the groundbreaking, CEID students and their parents gathered with Mayor Tom Bates, Ellis and area residents to celebrate the center’s work. While parents chatted in a mixture of English and American Sign Language, children dug the first shovelfuls of dirt to signify the beginning of construction, a product, Horodas said, of 23 years of work. 

The new building was designed by local architect Susi Marsuola, whose haring-impaired son went to school at CEID. The plan calls for three classrooms, several offices and an audiology suite, which Ellis said will allow the center to assist local hospitals in testing infants for hearing loss. 

The center has been operating out of the Hopkins Early Childhood School in Berkeley since 1983, but staff members were forced to look for a new location when their lease with the Berkeley Unified School District ran out and district officials increased the price to extend the lease, according to Ellis. 

Ellis and Horoda now will turn their attention to securing funding and the proper permits for the project. The city has yet to grant a building permit, but CEID board member Donna Dahrouge said approval is in the final stages. 

The CEID board of directors is putting its efforts into a fund-raising campaign to pay for the construction of the new building. Ellis said they have raised about one-third of the $3 million dollar goal.