The New High School Building: Are We There Yet?
“I’ve been hearing these rumors for a while, and I’m very anxious to see the truth in these rumors,”said Farkas.“I hope that I’ll still be around to benefit from the new building.”
According to Hebrew Academy officials, it may be a while before ground breaks on the new building.
“We plan to break ground as soon as we get the permitting done,” said board member and development chair Marjan Katz. ” Right now we are at the mercy of the city.”
According to Katz, permitting could take anywhere from three to nine months, and the actual construction time could take up to 18 months.
In addition to obtaining permits, fundraising is also a top priority.
“We have five million dollars in pledges” said Director of Development Amy Somek.
Initial costs of the new building range from approximately ten to twelve million dollars.
The board has letters of interest for buying and/or leasing the current building. They hope to have a total income of at least three or four million dollars from their plan to sell or lease the property. The school has no intentions of continuing to use the current building once the new building is built. Prior to groundbreaking, they plan to raise an additional two to three million dollars for the construction.
Students have been speculating about the new features they will enjoy from the future building.
These new features include a big beit midrash, an innovation center, a large food court with outdoor seating, a college guidance suite, and two science labs: one for bio and another for chem. All of these amenities will be located on the first floor.
The second floor will house the middle school classrooms, and the third floor will be for the high school. Throughout the building there will be wide hallways with big windows for light.
Older students wish they could enjoy the new amenities the future building will hold.
“I envy the younger students who will get the opportunity to use all the new equipment and technology.” said senior Yehuda Neuwirth. “I think that in chemistry and biology I had limited resources and that limited my education to a certain degree. The opportunity that these students will have will really expand their knowledge.”
Members of the faculty are also looking forward to the new building.
“I think it will give the students a little bit more pride,” said History Department Chair Mr. Matla. “Looking around this building, it’s almost 40 or 50 years old . It’s not really something you’re proud of. It’s kind of like showing off an ugly baby. A nice bright new building with the most modern technology is something you want to see.”
The science department was consulted by the building’s planners to determine their specific needs. They are especially looking forward to new safety equipment and other basic lab materials, said Science Department Chair Ms. Zack.
“I think that it’s going to be an incredible step up for the science department,” Zack said. “We’ve been promised a brand new state of the art science lab. It will become a place where students want to come to learn science.”
Students and faculty members are also excited about a much needed climate change in the new building.
“My room in particular has often been compared to the North Pole, so I’m looking forward to being able to regulate the temperatures,” said English Teacher Mr. Adams. “It’s always good for a school to get a face lift.”
Alex Farkas along with the rest of the students, faculty and parents eagerly await the arrival of the new building.
“I think that the new building will give me more motivation to learn,” said Luciano Fernandez (9th grade).
By: Rummi Neuwirth (10th grade), with additional reporting by Jack Esformes (11th grade) and Gabe Apoj (12th grade)