SAN ANTONIO -

The nonprofit organization Lighthouse for the Blind celebrated their 80th anniversary with the grand opening of a new building.

The multipurpose, 53,000-square-foot facility will help blind and visually impaired children thrive, as well as create new jobs and services for the community.

"Our vision is to make San Antonio the best city in the world for for people who are blind to live," said Mike Gilliam, Lighthouse for the Blind CEO.

Weston Wright, a visually impaired 8-year-old, had the honor of cutting the ribbon to celebrate the opening of the new facility.

Lighthouse for the Blind representatives said it was fitting, since the new facility will help benefit children like him.

It will house a Blind Children's Education Program for children from the time they're born until the age of 14, as well as serving as a resource center for their parents. 

"One of the concerns is always whether blind children keep up if you mainstream them in school. With our program, we plan on having children so far ahead of their sighted peers, that when they get into school, there's not going to be any worry whatsoever with mainstreaming," said Gilliam.

He added the program will make San Antonio the only city in the world with programs for the blind from birth until death, with an array or programs to help people live high-quality independent lives.

The building is the fourth for the Lighthouse for the Blind campus.

Along with the education programs, it will provide additional manufacturing space for products, which will create new jobs for people who are blind

It also features a vision rehabilitation center, created through a partnership with the  University of the Incarnate Word and Rosenberg School of Optometry.

It will give optometry students a chance to learn while providing treatment for those who need it.

Gilliam said he was excited about the new building and the services that will be provided.

"It's incredible. It couldn't be a better feeling," said Gilliam.      

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