JCC has temporary digs
WOODBRIDGE >> The Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven is temporarily relocating its fitness center to a space at 4 Research Drive until the facility at 360 Amity Road can be restored after extensive damage was done by a December a four-alarm fire.
The official opening of the temporary fitness center was Jan. 2, although some portions opened earlier.
JCC Chief Executive Officer Judy Diamondstein said Tuesday that program and camp sign-ups also will be done at that location and executive offices are nearby on Litchfield Turnpike. Fitness center classes will resume as well.
Diamondstein has said it could be up to a year before the home facility is reopened because cleanup won’t even begin until March.
The Dec. 5 fire, which caused extensive water and smoke damage to the building, and injured two firefighters, has been ruled accidental, although the investigation continues into what caused the fire, believed to have begun in the sauna, according to Woodbridge Volunteer Fire Department officials.
Fire officials said on their Facebook page that a thorough investigation was done, “with the assistance of the Department of Public Protection Fire and Explosive Investigation Unit and one of their State Police Detectives with an Accelerant Detection K-9.” They ruled out an “intentional fire,” the post said.
It is believed the fire started in the sauna area in the men’s locker room.
Anyone with information may contact Fire Marshal Joseph Cappucci at 203-389-3445 or email@example.com.
Diamondstein said there is no spa area or shower facility at the temporary location, so the spa fees are suspended and the facility is opening at 5 a.m. instead of 5:30, to allow members time to go home and shower if necessary.
She said members will receive refunds for December because the facility was closed.
Diamondstein said a handful of employees who work the spa and print shop had to be “let go,” but she hopes they will return when the facility reopens.
Most employees remain, including in maintenance, because there’s much to be done at temporary sites.
She said they are trying to be flexible and accommodating.
Diamondstein said the community support for the JCC has been remarkable.
“We kind of knew we were loved, now we know we’re loved,” she said.
She said a 92-year-old spa member from New Haven who loves to gather with his friends there each morning called and asked them to please keep charging him for the service even though it’s not running.
Another member joined another the gym temporarily, but also wants to keep paying.
The fire started around 3:30 p.m. and the staff evacuated about 300 people in the building.
Diamondstein has said the 100,000-square-foot building has about two miles of ducts that need cleaning. She said the lower level of the building had 6-8 inches of water once the fire was over and the new basketball court was ruined, as was the aerobics studio.
She said the building “isn’t safe” to be occupied.
Some 77 pre-kindergarten students and 40 in an after-school program have been moved to Congregation B’nai Jacob.