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Update on Temple Facility Project - Part I

10/15/2018 02:15:37 PM


Seth Leventhal

Many of you have been asking us how the temple facility project is going. As you know, we have contracted with the architecture firm of Brawer & Hauptman to produce a master plan that will serve as our guide in implementing our facility’s next phase of development, that will provide us with a welcoming spiritual home for many years to come.

We recently finished a building survey to gauge some of the general ideas and priorities of our congregation. Last week the architects visited for a ‘mini-charette’ session where they presented some exciting preliminary ideas and obtained input from the attendees aimed at ensuring that what they finally produce reflects our congregation’s vision. Today, I will provide you with a short summary of the results of the survey.

First of all, we had 54 responses, a good 46% of our member families, which is an excellent response rate. That in itself shows this is an area of high interest to our congregation. A few major points that we gleaned from the survey, concerning how our congregation feels about the building:

• Our temple entry and sanctuary entry are not welcoming.

• We could use a more clearly defined function for each are of our worship space.

• Our space is functional – it meets our basic needs and people can see and hear well wherever they sit.

• Our top priorities for an upgrade are the sanctuary, social hall, entry and foyer. The architects have thus concentrated their planning efforts on these areas.

What were the most common words people used to convey their felling about our current facility? The most common word was “industrial” (no surprise since it is basically an industrial space). Also, we heard: Depressing, cold, institutional, dull, uninviting, sad, and even “gray and prison-like”. The major thing people cited as missing from the current facility could be summed up in one word that we saw recurring throughout: Warmth. There were also a number of people who felt the facility was “very adequate” or even “fine”, but the positive descriptions were not exactly inspiring: Adequate, functional, sufficient, practical, “okay”.

Some ideas for the plan put forward by congregants:

• We need a sound barrier between the sanctuary and social hall.

• We should have monitors showing information about what’s going on at the temple.

• Need a permanent ark/bemah.

• Better and more natural lighting.

• Comfortable seating.

• Better acoustics

• An attractive & functional ballroom and kitchen could better attract rentals.

All of these areas are things the architects are actively working into their design ideas. There was also some concern about using temple resources for this project given our financial means. Keeping this in mind, the architects are concentrating on ideas which can be realistically accomplished within those means. In our next entry I will share with you some of the preliminary ideas they shared with us in the ‘mini-charette’ session last week.

Mon, May 20 2019 15 Iyar 5779