Project Description

St. Joseph’s Villa – Sarah Dooley Center for Autism

Richmond, Virginia
ODELL transformed a nearly 100-year old, 22,000 square feet building into a hub for a pioneering model of autism education that will serve 100 students at a time from St. Joseph’s Villa’s Sarah Dooley Center for Autism.

The historical structure was preserved to maintain the building’s rich history, while refreshing the façade and replacing windows. The previous entry was not wheelchair accessible, so a new graded entry with two gently sloping ramps was added on either side of the new stairs. New landscaping and benches were added at the building’s entry to provide respite as well as a connection to the larger campus.

Major structural modifications occurred to expand the previous enclosed entry to a two-story, light filled space. A new elevator was added to provide accessibility to both levels. The glass enclosed sensory room – the project’s crown jewel – is on the second floor, overlooking the lobby.

The sloped auditorium was converted to a single level, two-story space with expansive windows that now serves as a conference center accommodating up to 250 people.

The project also includes 8 classrooms with adjacent accessible bathrooms and teacher workstations, dedicated observation areas for parents and research partners, sites for art and music therapy, a movement room, as well as an administrative and health suite.
Learn more and take a virtual tour of the center here: