I’ve been giving thought to changing the lyrics to one of my favorite childhood songs—“My Favorite Things” from "The Sound of Music." While I do love raindrops on roses, today what’s making me happy is the sound of banging, ripping, taping, sweeping and spraying.
Demolition and construction are fully underway in our community building. Our schedule is quite aggressive with the goal of a soft opening in December followed by a grand re-opening in January. Many special events to highlight new programs and programming spaces will be held during the first few months of the year and we encourage you to join us.
This summer, a complete refresh of the Yeladim Early Learning Center was completed and families were welcomed back to their new classrooms for the start of the school year, with the exception of our Nitzanim kindergarten class which has taken up temporary residency in the Community Room as their classroom is located in the heart of the upper level fire zone. It’s wonderful to have our youngest members return to the community building after welcoming back swimmers and racquetball players earlier.
I want to give a shout of appreciation to our swimmers and racquetball players who are sharing a small mixed-gender family changing room while construction of our new locker rooms takes place. The men’s and women’s spas and locker rooms bore the brunt of damage from the fire and are currently gutted to the studs. We are looking forward to brand new locker rooms with modern paint colors and new lighting and flooring.
Probably the most dramatic change to the physical space is in the lower level where we have blown open the walls and re-oriented the spaces to create more opportunities for health and wellness. The new modern, open and airy facility is being intentionally constructed to meet the needs and interests of our members. The spin room has moved locations into a larger space with better cooling ventilation. The group exercise room has moved to a larger space with natural light from a wall of windows. Current and trending spaces in fitness are in store for functional fitness and personal training enhancement.
Our new MakerSpaces—STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) areas are under construction as well. Even though we cannot currently access the rooms where the two spaces will reside (side-by-side), a clean space with sewing machines, computers and jewelry making and a messier space with wood and metal working and a potter’s wheel, work stations are being built off site by our expert MakerSpace teacher and consultant.
When you return to the building and enter through the front/main doors, you will immediately notice a change. The color palate throughout the building will be current, cool and modern. You will be greeted at our new welcome desk and asked to check in or scan your membership card. Security is of paramount importance in a post-9/11 world and we take our community’s safety very seriously. Security enhancements are part of the refit of the building. Some you will see, like the new welcome desk, and some you will not. But all are designed with keeping our most precious assets—our people—safe and secure.
I am including a few photos of the work in progress. One area depicts a demolished masonry wall that formerly was an outside wall of the men’s and women’s spas. When we return, that area will feature a new spa concierge desk designed to provide guest services and support. At this desk you may book your massage, pick up a towel, purchase goggles or flip-flops or otherwise be helped with your needs.
The multiple focus groups, online survey, town hall and Shark Tank process have combined to inform the design and planning process for the facility and program changes. We remain dedicated to serving the expansive geography of Greater New Haven and the hub and spoke model. Much of the programming that finds its genesis in the community building will be exported beyond the walls, beginning with a pilot program in Cheshire with our partners at Temple Beth David. We thank Temple Beth David for their willingness to experiment and explore with us.
When the boards of the JCC and Jewish Federation determined to maintain our community’s central address at 360 Amity Road, they also understood that to be positioned for the future, returning to a building that was built for 1992 would not enable growth and sustainability. Unfortunately, the insurance scope only funds what is necessary to return each piece of drywall, nail or flooring to where it was. And so, many of the projects I’ve referred to in this communication were recommended by a special committee and then approved with the understanding that it would be necessary to fundraise to pay for them.
Without the luxury of time to raise the money first and then ask our community for support, the board voted to move forward with the projects to meet our December deadline and believes that the community will step forward to help.
The time is now. We are marking the moment where we determine our future. We believe that the community building will be recreated to be a premier destination where our community will choose to go to enjoy a great cappuccino, work out of the house in a specially dedicated space with great Wi-Fi, printers and copy machines, take a class or a schvitz, play sports, work out, study, learn, swim, hang out or attend a program or event. We fully expect every nook and cranny to be bustling with excitement and activity.
All we need is you. We need you to continue your membership or re-join the JCC. We need you to tell your friends to do the same. We need you to participate generously in the financial sustainability of our community—first with a generous pledge to the Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign—because our community’s every day needs have only increased and then with a generous contribution to the Capital Campaign. For more information on naming and dedication opportunities, or to make your pledge in support of the annual campaign, please contact Amy Holtz, Director of Development email@example.com.
In closing, I want to thank the boards, special committees, and staff of the Jewish Federation, Foundation and JCC, and most importantly, my partners in this undertaking—Scott Cohen, Scott Hurwitz and Norman Ravski. None of us could have imagined a year ago what would be in store for us and our community. Everyone has worked tirelessly with their eyes on the prize to make critical decisions that will chart the future. While it has not been easy and we have not yet reached the end of the tunnel, we can definitely see the light and we are confident that when we finally arrive at our destination, it will be beautiful.
As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns - firstname.lastname@example.org