You can do anything but ‘sleep overnight’ at newly conceived JCC in Woodbridge
Imagine a place where you can bring your child to nursery school, grab a high-end cappuccino, set up your laptop in a co-working center, then grab a bite of fine kosher food for lunch, work out in a state-of-the-art fitness center, grab a Shabbat dinner for the family to go and head home.
These are just a few of the eat, play, socialize, learn options that will be available at the new, improved JCC of Greater New Haven when the facility fully reopens March 18.
“We want to make this place a true lifestyle destination,” said JCC Chief Executive Officer Judy Alperin. “You can do anything you want to do except sleep overnight.”
With the help of Svigals + Partners architectural firm, community input and a six-day-a-week construction crew, the JCC is poised to soon operate full throttle following a devastating fire Dec. 5, 2016, that started in a downstairs sauna and has been ruled accidental.
The four-alarm fire last year caused more than $2.4 million in damage, including heavy fire, smoke and water damage on the first floor and major smoke damage throughout the rest of the 106,000-square-foot building at 360 Amity Road.
It needed refreshing and, in some areas, new construction.
The JCC kept its major operations going throughout the year, relocating the fitness center, early childhood learning center, corporate offices and some other activities to other locations.
The Yaledim Early Learning center, which made its home at B’Nai Jacob synagogue, moved back into the building by September.
These days the JCC is bustling with children, pool users, auditorium users and workers. The place looks like a construction site well on its way to done, with lots of fresh paint, soothing colors and new flooring finished in many places.
Alperin took the Register on a tour Wednesday, beginning with the entrance that will look a lot different when completed.
Visitors — both members and non-members — will be greeted at a large guest services desks and cards will be swiped for entry. A cozy seating area in the entrance way is a new addition.
Alperin said security will be enhanced, including through cameras.
There will be a library, an art gallery to showcase the work of local artists and the Jewish Historical Society.
A “high-end” coffee shop jand marketplace will sell “the very best Kosher food,” including bakery goods, Challah and even Shabbat meals to go. She said the JCC has partnered with Willoughby’s Fine Coffee and Tea.
“This might be where you come every day for your cappuccino,” Alperin said.
The facility will also add a rock-climbing wall, recreation programs such as field hockey and roller blading, new treatment rooms for corrective exercise.
In many areas, walls were knocked down to create a more open feel. The JCC will have the best fiber optic cable for excellent Wi-Fi throughout the building, she said.
Facing a quaint terrace on the side of the building will be a newly named “Terrace Room” for members and guests to attend programs, discussion groups, play bridge, Mahjong. The view is spectacular.
A new “Maker Space” will house activities of experiential learning and crafts such as woodworking, pottery and STEAM education that will be used by the youngest and oldest among JCC-goers.
In a room designated as a co-working center, people can work on their laptops. Long tables with lots of outlets will soon be installed.
Downstairs, the fitness area is getting a major makeover, including a turf system for functional fitness, a group exercise studio, dance studio and a cycling room that will eventually have a projection system so cyclists can all share in a ride through Tuscany or other adventure.
Enhanced spa services will also be offered at JCC, including facials and orthopedic massage.
Although the facility is commonly referred to as the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven, the legal name, a spokeswoman said, is JCC of Greater New Haven. People of all faiths are welcome and encouraged to join, she said.