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Construction to Begin on Pittsburgh International Airport’s Sensory Room

January 31, 2019

Construction is to begin in early 2019 on Pittsburgh International Airport’s sensory-friendly room to provide a space for people with autism and other cognitive disabilities who need to de-escalate before boarding a flight. The 1,500 sq. ft. sensory-friendly space will serve as a calming space for children and adult travelers that have a unique response to the stress of air travel. HDG provided architectural services to the Allegheny County Airport Authority to carefully incorporate a number of features into this special room to meet a variety of unique needs and provide sensory support.  Some of the features planned for the sensory room include soft surface textures and seating, calming sounds and visual stimulation, materials that minimize noise levels and distracting odors, items to help prepare travelers for the experience of boarding a plane, and private/quiet rooms for those who need minimal stimuli. The process included gathering input received from experts in the local autism community, 100+ citizens at a public meeting, and from an interdepartmental airport committee.

The sensory room will be located in Concourse A in Pittsburgh International Airport’s airside terminal. Construction is expected to be complete within the year.

The total construction cost for the project is estimated at over $900,000.  $540,000 in contributions have been pledged to support the project, along with specialized equipment and furnishings like adult changing tables by the Hillman Foundation and other charitable organizations, and corporations such as American Airlines.

This project is one of several projects HDG has provided architectural services for as part of an on-call architectural services contract with Allegheny County Airport Authority.

Read more about this project in PIT’s Blue Sky Newsletter:

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