The slogan for the York Jewish Community Center’s capital campaign that raised $5.5 million toward its recent $8 million expansion might have been a tad corny, said CFO/COO Matt Scarpato.
But it was definitely accurate: Bursting at the Seams.
As in the child care center was maxed out with a growing waiting list and the gym space left members of the fitness center feeling like sardines squeezed into a (sweaty) can.
“It’s a very active facility,” said Todd Grove, principal at Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects, which led the design of the expansion and renovations at the 8,000-plus member center.
For more than a decade the JCC had recognized the classroom space it had available for its early child hood education program was insufficient.
So in 2011, the center conducted a feasibility study with the team at Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects, which had handled previous renovations to the facility, to maximize the limited amount of land available to offer the highest quality child care facilities it could.
Scarpato said there was a lot of collaboration on the design of the additions, which broke ground in late 2014 and was completed in December 2015, save for some finishing touches.
‘Worth the wait’
The resulting 11,000-square-foot addition features an abundance of natural light, four new classrooms and a multifunctional motor skills room that allow students to engage in more active indoor play. The space in each classroom can transition to a variety of uses – from lunchtime to naptime to playtime. The expansion has enabled the center to take on 55 additional students.
“We have a very long wait list,” Scarpato said. “Everyone who has seen it has said it’s been worth the wait.”
Along with the expansion of the child care wing, there was a much-needed expansion and renovation of the fitness center.
“We had a lot of members that were getting frustrated that they were working out on top of each other,” Scarpato said.
So they added 6,200-square-feet of space, which includes a new strength-training room, an expanded cardio room, a large group fitness studio and a state-of-the-art spin room/personal training studio featuring LED mood lighting that changes colors – unique for the area, Scarpato said.
The expansion/renovations allow the JCC to fulfill its mission of being a gym and wellness center where everyone feels welcome and everyone feels comfortable.
Scarpato relayed what former Executive Director Randy Freedman once said: “It’s a place where the fit and the yet-to-be-fit can work out together.”
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Completing the mission
“We want to continue to be a leader in child care and health and wellness,” Scarpato said. “The new space allows us to continue to serve those areas and add new members.”
Grove said that Murphy and Dittenhafer Architects is community oriented and has worked with many nonprofits over the years.
It’s important to the firm that the community spaces people visit as part of their daily routines are considered thoroughly, he said. Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects looks for opportunities to be energy efficient and sustainable and always work to integrate design with the surrounding environment.
From the perspective of the JCC, the mission was accomplished.
“The end result turned out to be what the community needed,” Scarpato said.