|Yavneh Academy’s President Pam Scheininger, its principal, Rabbi Jonathan Knapp, and Paramus’ Mayor Richard LaBarbiera at the celebration. Debbie Abramowitz|
One down. Two to go.
The Yavneh Academy in Paramus celebrated the completion of the first phase of its $5 million project to renovate and expand its school building and grounds on Sunday.
Founded in Paterson in 1942, Yavneh moved to Bergen County and the building it now occupies in 1981. It has about 800 students from nursery school through eighth grade.
On Sunday, it inaugurated a new middle school wing that was built this summer, along with a new parking lot. Next on the agenda: renovating the school’s entrance with an atrium and an enhanced security center. And after that – well, the school’s leaders have begun investigating the possibility of building a new gym.
“It’s not about growing the school, but meeting the needs of the students we have,” school president Pamela Scheininger said. “This project was narrowly tailored.”
The new wing has a science lab and four other classrooms. “It provides us with school-wide benefits,” Principal Rabbi Jonathan Knapp said. “The new wing also enables us to re-imagine and maximize the use of our broader facility as a whole. We created new and expanded space for our outstanding art program, a dedicated and enlarged location for our wonderful music program and concert choirs, and designed an area for aerobics and other fitness classes.”
“People’s response has been very generous,” Ms. Scheininger said. So far, the school’s solicitations have been directed mainly toward parents and grandparents of students and alumni. Sunday’s event marked the expansion of the fundraising campaign to “ask every family to contribute to this project.”
The success so far has enabled planners to start thinking about a new gym, which was not in the original fundraising prospectus. “We need more adequate space to insure kids have an opportunity to exercise,” said Ms. Scheininger, whose three oldest children attend the school. The fourth, she said, will start pre-K next fall.
“We’ve been thrilled at Yavneh,” she said. “It was the best decision we could have made as a family. We really felt comfortable about an institution that had a legacy of success. We also felt the school was open to innovation and change. That has proven to be true.
“Though there has been a tried and true product, the school is always looking to do better and be better.”