Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Why expand?
- Why now?
- What is the plan?
- How much will it cost?
- Why so much?
- How will the renovations be financed?
- Will the Temple's financial health be affected?
- Will we lose parking space?
- Will High Holiday services be held at the Temple?
- How long will the construction last?
- Will construction require moving out of the building?
- How will construction affect use of the sanctuary and the bar/bat mitzvah schedule?
- What is the future for the no-plaques policy given the need to raise money?
- Why don’t the renovations include new bathrooms, since there are long lines at the restrooms when a big event takes place at the Temple?
- When the building was originally designed, there was some interest in locating the library up front where the Board Room is now. Why couldn’t the library be moved to that location, which is more accessible?
the outdoor entrance ramp is on the opposite side of the building from
the parking lot, is there any thought of moving it closer?
Temple Micah’s building reflects the congregation’s vibrant connections to Jewish values. Modest in scope and rich in symbolic meaning—with references to archaeological reconstructions of first- and second-century synagogues, 19th century buildings, and Jewish numerology—it is a welcoming place of warmth and centeredness.
Since moving into this beautiful building a decade ago, the congregation has nearly doubled from 220 to 430 households. No longer connected under one roof, our active community must find outside space for study and programming.
At its heart, the building unites three houses: Beit Tefila, a house of
prayer; Beit Sefer, a house of study; and Beit Knesset,
a house of community. The renovations will thoughtfully expand or
reconfigure all three houses. Designed by members Robert Weinstein and
Judith Capen, architects of the existing building, the plan will relieve
pressures on our facilities, so that all generations can worship together,
study together, and celebrate spiritual moments of life’s passage together
as one inclusive community.
The Temple’s growth and activities have exceeded the building’s capacity for several years. When the religious school is in session three days a week and many parents are on-site, there is no place for the community of all ages--no place for parent meetings or for adults to study. Lack of space has forced both children and adults out in different directions to rented classrooms. The building’s social facilities can no longer accommodate many life-cycle events. And our staff lacks offices to conduct Temple operations efficiently and confidentially.
A new wing on the north side will provide double the present space for a
wide variety of programs in eight flexible new rooms grouped around a
courtyard. These new spaces can be used individually or combined to
provide larger spaces for religious school classes, adult
education, and meetings and social activities. Moved next to the
sanctuary, a permanent library will provide convenient access and greater
comfort. As study yields to social activity on the lower level, classroom
doors will fold back doubling usable space in the social hall.
On the south side above the parking lot, an expanded office area will ease staff crowding and provide a place for the new assistant rabbi. The galleria will be opened up with a glass wall on the adjacent boardroom, creating a more inviting, extended place for members to welcome Shabbat.
The sanctuary will remain the same size, but its orientation is projected to change with a new walk-in ark centered on the north wall. Creating this “holy of holies” area offers the opportunity to completely close off the Torahs when secular activities take place in the sanctuary, and Rabbi Zemel explains that there is no halachic objection to locating the ark on the north wall. This placement also enables seating in a hemisphere pattern with congregants closer to the bima and each other, enhancing the prayer experience and sense of community.
Approximately 5,000 square feet of new space and about 1,000 square feet of renovated space will be added to the existing building.
See Plans & Elevations for more information.
The budget estimate is $2 million, which breaks out as follows:
Estimated Construction Cost $ 1,600,000
Architect/engineer fees (15%) $ 240,000
Fixtures/furniture/equipment + permits $ 160,000
Total Estimated Costs $ 2,000,000
The same quality and durability that distinguish our existing structure will extend to new construction. Masonry walls, real wood finishes, solid ceilings (instead of suspended acoustic tile), substantial glass-roofed courtyard to preserve the sense of openness and natural light in the social hall, and union labor throughout—all cost more than the alternatives.
In addition, building costs have escalated dramatically, especially over the past two years, due to worldwide demand for construction materials and a labor shortage in our region’s active building market. To build our original structure today would cost approximately $5 million; the price 10 years ago was $3 million.
The proposed renovations—far from extravagant—are characterized by honesty and integrity in design, materials, and construction. These principles apply equally to living the Jewish life that is a hallmark of Temple Micah.
Funding will come entirely from the Temple Micah community through the Capital Campaign as well as the existing building and expansion funds, which represent only a small percentage of the $2 million needed. Part of the cost could be financed with a bridge loan, but a substantial portion must be pledged up front before the project can begin. Ongoing building fund contributions by new members will be used to help pay down any building loans. There are no plans to assess members for the expansion, and all contributions are tax deductible.
The Temple will not undertake expenses that would jeopardize its solvency. If early pledges are insufficient to start the entire project, the Board in consultation with the architects will determine the most important elements and adjust the scope to fit the budget.
No. The office expansion, like a carport, will extend over part of the
parking lot. Supporting columns will stay rooted in the divider planting
No. Temple Micah’s priority has always been to remain together as one community. The Temple was never intended to hold the entire congregation and guests in a single space for a few days each year. It is designed to make the building a more effective house of community, study, and prayer throughout the rest of the year.
The goal is to complete the project in nine to 10 months, starting in
No. The work will be phased with maximum effort at minimal disruption.
Breaking through part of the north wall to install the walk-in ark and a door—all that’s required in the sanctuary—optimally will start when religious school ends in 2006 and proceed through the summer, along with the heaviest construction. Taking into consideration the unknowns in construction, it is still our hope that work on the sanctuary, existing classrooms, and social hall would be sequenced to allow the 2006-07 bar/bat mitzvah schedule to proceed without disruption.
Temple Micah will remain a plaque-free environment consistent with the congregation’s underlying values. An opportunity to give in honor or memory of a special person will be available in the form of a book listing all donors and honorees for the occasion of the Building Connection project. It is hoped that this approach--expressing both our congregation’s individuality and sense of community—will inspire members to give with even greater generosity.
14. Why don’t the renovations include new bathrooms, since there are long lines at the restrooms when a big event takes place at the Temple?
According to building code requirements, the Temple has the correct number of bathrooms even after the new space is added. In addition, bathrooms are very expensive. Looking at the big picture, the Temple has too many toilets 20 percent of the time, the right number 79 percent of the time, and too few 1% of the time.
15. When the building was originally designed, there was some interest in locating the library up front where the Board Room is now. Why couldn’t the library be moved to that location, which is more accessible?
Replacing the Board Room with the library would increase congestion as services start in the galleria on Friday night. If we want to continue beginning the Friday night service in the galleria, using the Board Room as overflow space is the only easy way to expand the space.
16. Since the outdoor entrance ramp is on the opposite side of the building from the parking lot, is there any thought of moving it closer?
We are not contemplating moving the ramp. It would be difficult to place on the parking lot side because the land slopes very steeply. Both of the building entrances are currently accessible with a ramp to the front door and drop-off area in the front as well as the alley entrance close to the parking spaces.