Ohio School for the Deaf
History of OSDAA
Ohio School for the Deaf Alumni Association (OSDAA) was established in 1870, it is the oldest alumni association in the nation, even the oldest of any kind or higher education schools. The active membership is composed of former students and graduates of the Ohio School for the Deaf. Its Board of Governors is elected from the membership. OSDAA has a reunion every two years. The turnout is usually very good, several hundred. We have panoramic pictures taken at the entrance of the old school for the deaf on Washington and Town Streets.
During one of the early reunions, one member shared his concerns for the elderly deaf that were living in county homes spread all across Ohio. They didnít have access to church services, social involvement or even good communication. They were living in isolated living conditions. At the 7th reunion this issue was brought up and it was proposed that a home for deaf elderly should be established, where they could enjoy living in a deaf community, where communication and socialization are accessible. A committee was set up at that time.
The committee was made up of Robert Patterson, principal at OSD; Robert MacGregor, high school teacher at OSD; A.B. Greener: Albert Schory; W. Zorn; C.W. Charles and others. Robert MacGregor was helping to establish the National Association of the Deaf in 1880 and became the first president of NAD. It was time to begin raising money. OSDAA donated $500 and many different organizations and individuals gave as well.
In 1892, Presbyterian Central College was in debt for taxes, the trustees decided to dispose of the property and sold it to OSDAA for $3,300, which was a real bargain for a building and 15 acres. The Ohio Home for the Aged and Infirm Deaf (OHAD) opened on December 12, 1896. Later another 156 acres were purchased and it became a self-supporting general farm, including livestock and crops.
The residents worked the farm to help keep OHAD rolling. OSD students also helped with the farm. They would take the trolley and the hay wagons to the farm. The boys harvested the crops while the girls canned food and sewed clothes. Several times a year on Sundays, the OSD students would pay 10 cents for a show and the funds were used to pay the utility bills.
In 1922, Wornstaff Hall was opened to house the men, it cost $26,662. The Fairchild building was used for the women. The Fairchild Building was the original building bought with the property. It is named after the only student who graduated from the college. In 1955, a 29 bed skilled care nursing home opened. At this time the State Board of Health stopped all resident labor so the farm was shut down and OHAD depended on welfare to keep running.
The state then passed a law requiring all nursing homes and homes for the elderly to meet a new fire code. OHAD could not meet the new code. The roof was wood, the halls needed to be widened, the doors wider and a water sprinkler had to be added. It was not feasible to alter the size and structure of the buildings. The board then decided to develop a new location.
The White House Conference for Aging suggested that we go through HUD to finance our project. Some of our board members were hesitant to go with HUD since we would loose some of the control and have to follow their rules. The board decided to get funds to build a new place through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 1979 we held the ground-breaking ceremony for Columbus Colony Housing (CCH) and Columbus Colony Elderly Care (CCEC). Both buildings were designed for the needs of deaf elderly, multi-handicapped and deaf-blind people. CCH consists of 106 independent living apartments. One apartment is used for the resident manager and 12 units are equipped for wheelchair accessibility. CCEC is a skilled care nursing home licensed by the state, making it eligible for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. CCEC continued to grow and in 1994, 50 beds were added, making a total of 150 beds. In 2002, Columbus Colony Housing II (CCH II) opened with 49 more unites. CCH II has a multi-purpose room, which holds 200 people. This room is used every other week for residents to play dingo and other activities throughout the year for resident togetherness and enjoyment of life.
CCH I and CCH II are both Section 202 programs, Supportive Housing for the Elderly, HUD form 92015, application for capital funds. The requirements that must be met to apply for funds are: nonprofit organization (sponsor by Ohio School for the Deaf Alumni Association), Articles of Incorporation, bylaws and constitution, IRS tax exemption, sponsorís conflict of interest resolution and board members, ss number, address, free from convictions. The land for the building, deed, option, and permissive zoning. The need must be established for the area. Details of site and area surrounding site. HUD also requires a commitment of $10,000 if the approve the bid for Section 202. They also want to know supportive services will be provided to meet the needs of the residents. HUD granted $3,181,000 to build 49 unit CCH II, the total cost exceeded $4,400,000 and the difference was paid by OSDAA.
CCEC is Section 232 and 92013 applications for project mortgage insurance (nursing home). The HUD 232 project is loan guarantee. They require; a current nursing license, issued by the state; and most recent inspection reports; need to show the land is available and permissive zoning, management agent certification and management entity profile. Certificate of Need (CON) from Human Services Department.
All three facilities are managed by Columbus Colony, Inc. They are separate from OSDAA because HUD requires that all funds be kept separate from the ownership. However, the OSDAA board members are also the Columbus Colony board of trustees, same people, and different responsibilities.
The OSDAA board members are currently and have been ever since the beginning, deaf and former OSD students. Itís a rewarding experience for the board members to run the retirement center although HUD regulates both CCH I and CCH II, and Ohio Department of Human Services oversees the nursing home.
Residents of CCH I and CCH II pay 30% of their annual adjusted gross income and the rest is covered by the Section 8 housing assistance payment program. Residents of CCEC are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid since CCEC is licensed by the state of Ohio. The running of CCEC is more stringent with many codes to adhere to including cleanliness, food quality, Medicare/Medicaid disbursement, safety, and resident care in order to keep license to operate. Columbus Colony employs three full time interpreters plus several part-time interpreters to help with communication as needed but all staff is required to learn sign language, in fact, some employees are themselves deaf.
Ohio School for the Deaf Alumni Association is proud to say that the board members are all deaf and they have been since the beginning.