Baltimore, MD - May 16, 2024 - As The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore prepares for its relocation to the heart of the Jewish community, big changes are afoot at the Park Heights Jewish Community Center.

“We’re excited that The Associated’s going to be moving its headquarters into the current JCC building alongside a few of its agencies,” says Marc B. Terrill, president of The Associated. “This move will position The Associated to offer a robust home for community-wide programming, to have the JCC, Jewish Library and The Associated in one main building and adjacent to most of our other Associated agencies on one campus. It’s really going to provide a unique opportunity for us to think and work communally.”

Renovations to the building, scheduled to begin in the next several weeks, will begin with the JCC’s main lobby. According to Paul Lurie, the JCC’s chief operations officer, the new lobby is the first step in what will be a “campus-wide transformation, a reimagination in how we use the building.”

The new main floor will include modern boardrooms, meeting rooms and an auditorium/multipurpose space equipped with the latest technologies. Adjacent to the multipurpose space will be a small catering kitchen, making the space suitable for B’nai Mitzvah parties, meetings and other special occasion building rentals.  

The main floor of the JCC will also be home to a brand-new wing for children and families.  “This will include a new version of J Town, the parent-children interactive space that recently closed during construction” says,” Lurie. 

“With the renovation, we’ll have a new parent-child space right next to the new Jewish Library. Our goal is to create this hub of family engagement between the new J Town and the new Jewish Library. We want it to be an immersive experience for families where we leverage Jewish values in everything we do.” 

Jessica Fink, executive director of the Jewish Library of Baltimore says the new space is being designed in consultation with an architect in order to “ensure we meet the needs of the community.” New features will include a laptop bar, study nooks and a meeting space available for use by Associated agencies. The library staff will grow to include three librarians and a library administrative coordinator. 

Recently, says Fink, the library has also welcomed an author-in-residence “who creates programming that uses literacy to combat antisemitism.” While renovations are in progress, Fink says the library will be temporarily located in the JCC auditorium.

The final phase of construction will focus on renovating our Sports and Wellness facilities.” says Lurie. When completed there will be two newly built group fitness studios and three revitalized studios. The Fitness Center will have new flooring, lighting, sound system, entry points and more. The locker rooms will be upgraded with a new steam room coming for women.

Finally, during this phase, the lower level of the building will be reimagined with the JCC’s newly renovated fitness center, says Lurie. When completed, the fitness center will include a total of five group fitness studios — two newly built ones and three revitalized ones. The fitness center will also include new flooring, hallways, lighting, locker rooms, bathrooms and state-of-the-art technology for sound systems. 

“Those facilities are in need of renovation after years of constant use,” says Lurie. “We believe strongly in being able to give people a high-quality experience there.”

“We are grateful to The Associated for leading these efforts and making these renovations possible. The planning process has been years in the making. There’s been a lot of time, effort, thought and creativity that’s gone into it. Lay leaders involved in the planning have really tried to look out for the best interests of the community. And obviously, it couldn’t be done without donors and funders including the Goldsmith family who made the lead gift.”

The JCC has a careful plan to ensure that JCC families won’t be inconvenienced by the renovations.

“While the group fitness studios are under construction, we’re utilizing the gymnasium and some other spaces, so we don’t lose more than one class a week. When the fitness center goes under renovation, the gym will get turned into a temporary fitness center so people won’t lose out on that. And, when the locker rooms go under, we’ll be making the family changing rooms into some locker room space. Our goal is to have the least amount of interruption possible for members who utilize the space during construction,” Lurie says.

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