|The renovated reception area is now larger, as well as warm and welcoming.|
After three years and $19 million, the extensive renovation of the Kaplen Jewish Community Center on the Palisades has come to an end. (But the restaurant was not officially open as of Wednesday.)
The result, say visitors to the facility, is an ultra-modern, warm, and welcoming environment. Its new entrance and lobby, which some have called “stunning,” is paved with “Jerusalem Gold” – an elegant stone imported from Israel. The lobby also features woodwork made of anigre, an imported wood. Decorative tiling appears throughout the building, donated by Artistic Tile.
The JCC started in Englewood in 1951 and moved to 411 E. Clinton Ave., in Tenafly, in 1981. It plans to celebrate its 60th anniversary in November with a gala celebration in the new, enhanced facility.
Renovations reportedly reached into virtually every area of the 141,200-square-foot building, including a 15,000-square-foot summer camp building. There were six additions to the facility as well, totaling 25,000 square feet.
“This project was a logistical challenge because we had to do all the construction with minimal disruption to ongoing programs and operations,” said Joseph Langan, president of River Drive Construction. “This involved relocating many services and juggling complex schedules, but, as a result of working closely with the JCC, we were able to ensure a smooth transition. The end result is a stunning, updated facility that better meets the needs of the growing membership.”
Since the renovation began three years ago, JCC membership has grown nearly 20 percent. There are now approximately 13,000 individual members. Thousands use the facility every day, including nearly 1,000 patrons of the fitness and recreation areas alone.
The three areas to experience the greatest enhancements are the Early Childhood Department, which has been consolidated into two secure areas; Fitness and Recreation, which has been upgraded to a state-of-the-art two-story center; and community space, which has been increased.
“After three long years, we now have a fabulous revitalized center to welcome and serve our members for generations to come,” said JCC Chief Operating Officer Sue Gelsey. “We are beyond proud of our new facility,” she added.
The architect for the project was SNS Architects & Engineers, based in Montvale. Dahn & Krieger Architects and Planners, based in Hackensack, designed the new cafÃ© and other additions.