Ohio School for the Deaf Alumni Association (OSDAA) was established in 1870, it is the oldest alumni association in the nation.
Active membership is composed of former students and graduates of the Ohio School for the Deaf. Its Board of Governors is elected by membership. OSDAA has a reunion every two years that often bring hundreds of attendees.
Home for Elderly Deaf People
During an early reunion, one member shared concerns about elderly deaf people who lived in county homes spread all across Ohio. They did not have access to chruch services, social involvement, or even access to communication. Rather, they were livingin isolation. At the seventh reunion, a proposal was that a home for deaf elderly people should be established. A committee was setup that included OSD principal Robert Patterson, OSD high school teacher Robert MacGregor, A.B. Greener, Albert Schory, W. Zorn, and C.W. Charles among others. Robert MacGregor had helped establish the nation's oldest civil rights organization, the National Association of the Deaf, in 1880 and served as its first president. OSDAA donated $500 to the formation of a home
In 1892, Central College Presbyterian, in debt for taxes, decided to dispose of the property and sold its building on 15 acres to OSDAA for $3,300. The Ohio Home for the Aged and Infirm Deaf (OHAD) opened on December 12, 1896. Later, another 156 acres were purchased, and the property became a self-substaining general farm with livestock and crops.
The residents worked the farm to help keep OHAD rolling. OSD students also helped out on the farm. They would take trolley and the hay wagons to the farm; the boys harvested crops while the girls canned food and sewed clothes. Several times a year on Sundays, the OSD students would pay $.10 for a show, which helped pay OHAD's utility bills.
In 1922, Wornstaff Hall was opened to house the men; it cost $26,662.00. The Fairchild Building, the original building purchased with the land, was used by the women. The name of Fairchild Building was 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 continue operations.
A New Location
A state law was enacted that required all nursing homes and homes for elderly peopleto meet new fire codes. OHAD could not meet the new requirements, as roof was wooden, the halls and doorways were too narrow, and a water sprinkler system needed to be installed. The OHAD board decided to find a new location.
The White House Conference for Aging suggested that Dr. James T. Flood and Mr. Paul Doudt to work through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to finance this new project. Some of the board members were hesitant to work with HUD becasue this meant OHAD would lose some control and have to abide by their rules. The board utlimately decided to raise funds to build a new place through HUD.
In 1979, groundbreaking ceremonies for Columbus Colony Housing (CCH1) and Columbus Colony Elderly Care (CCEC) took place. Both buildings were designed for the needs of deaf elderly, multi-disabled and deaf-blind people. Today, CCH1 consists of 106 independent living apartments, with the resident manager occupying one unit. Twelve untis are equipped for wheelchair accessibility. CCEC is a state-licensed skilled care nuring home that receives Medicare and Medicaid reimburshment. In 1974,
50 beds were added, making a total of 150 beds.
In 2002, Columbus Colony Housing II (CCHII) opened with 49 addiational units and multipurpose room that holds 200 people. This toom is used by residents to play Dingo and other activities.
OSDAA continues to oversee the operations of Columbus Colony.