After 62 years, Blind Center of Nevada, a nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of the blind and visually impaired, is ready for an upgrade. Come January 2018, 36,000 square feet will be added to the campus to complete the Visions of Greatness center, a new era in the organization’s long history.
Groundbreaking began on April 27 to usher in the building that organization president Cory Nelson believes will “be the heart of the Blind Center.” Indeed, with the introduction of a new culinary arts program created for the blind, a stage for the center’s musically-talented, and a large meeting hall to rent out for events (ideally planned and operated by Blind Center members), the Visions of Greatness center will receive the recognition it deserves.
Renderings show The Visions of Greatness center has the bones to be all things to all people. The building’s modern design is less clinical and more casual, Nelson’s hope being that Blind Center members feel “just a little bit more normal” when they’re in the space.
The expansion will make a sizable impact on the center’s electronic recycling department, 50 percent of which is managed by the blind and visually impaired. A new 15,000-square-foot warehouse with 24-foot ceilings, three docks and an upgraded security system will replace the former 3,000 square foot space. Blind Center’s recycling division already processes over 2 million pounds of electronic waste annually, with clients ranging from COX Communications and Caesars Entertainment to NV Energy. Nelson sees this advancement as a legitimization of all the hard work he and his members have put into the burgeoning business.
In spite of the new expansion, Nelson assures that the older buildings won’t be left behind. “We’re actually going to build a really cool indoor/outdoor lounge [next to the gym], with a patio for our members, which is a bigger deal than you would think,” he says, later explaining that, “Whenever our members go outside into the public, they have to worry about becoming a victim. They love to go outside here where they’re safe and protected and they get to enjoy the things that we take for granted, like sunlight and fresh air.”
A fountain will accompany the outdoor area as a sort of auditory guide for the blind. The space will also feature a barbecue and picnic area, as well as a place for dogs. But that’s not all. The indoor portion of the lounge will house two 105-inch TVs and, based on members’ requests, a pool table, a foosball table and a video game arcade machine.
This effort on the center’s part explains why it’s still one of the oldest charities in Las Vegas. And with the help of its Visions of Greatness expansion, Nelson hopes more people take notice. “We don’t want to be the best-kept secret. We don’t want members of the blind community to sit in their living room and suffer not knowing that The Blind Center Nevada is an option to them.”
Blind Center of Nevada
1001 N. Bruce St., blindcenter.org