We’ve designed this section to help answer your basic questions about our HBT Renewal Project. However, as you can imagine, it’s difficult to anticipate every question, to the appropriate level of detail, which may arise from the large number of our congregants with different interests and priorities. Renewal is, almost by definition, a very fluid process with new information/challenges/solutions happening regularly. So our FAQs will be ever-evolving, based on the questions that have arisen thus far, and the ones still to come from you.
To ask a question that hasn’t been covered below, please email [email protected]. Our committee members or Temple staff will follow up promptly, with the most up to date information available. And your question and its answer will likely be added to the list below.
Last Updated: September 2016
A: Preliminary construction for Phase 1 was completed in the spring of 2016. This important preparatory work, including our new elevator, was necessary to ready the school wing to temporarily house the Temple’s activities during the balance of Phase 1 construction. The remaining Phase 1 construction commenced in June 2016 and will take approximately 18 months to complete. Click here for the eBlast to the congregation announcing the hiring of Pomerleau Inc., the general contractors for the balance of Phase 1. Click here for the lastest construction photo and videos.
A: Briefly summarized, Phase 1 provides us with a new, 3-storey communal Atrium – a beautiful, glass-covered central gathering space for all Temple life. A brand new, spacious Family Chapel (located in the current Eisendrath Auditorium – 2nd level), Library, Youth Lounge, Temple administrative offices, and modern HVAC and electrical systems are also among the highlights of Phase 1.
A: Phase 2 of the project sees the complete restoration of our Main Sanctuary to its original splendour. (Have you ever wondered what that magnificent wooden ceiling would look like with proper/modern lighting?) A thorough renovation of the School Wing and rejuvenation of the Philip Smith Congregational Hall are also part of Phase 2. So is new outdoor space and landscaping.
A: It’s anticipated that construction of Phase 2 will proceed following as short a pause as possible after the completion of Phase 1, so as to allow us to achieve our Phase 2 fundraising objectives.
A: Our Renewal Project schematic design drawings were mailed to you in April 2015, and are also available to view here. They are the result of extensive congregational and stakeholder group outreach, conducted through the latter months of 2013. Our architects met with and listened to stakeholder groups (Clergy, Worship, Religious School, Out of the Cold, Stagecraft etc.) and also participated in meetings with many diverse Temple voices (Seniors, Boomers, Temple Youth etc.). These discussions, as well as the excellent input of our Building Committee led directly to the schematic drawings, and to a comprehensive Program Book, which you can also view here. These documents take into consideration not only space and design, but also desired Temple programming within those spaces.
A: We are pursuing LEED Silver certification (an internationally recognized standard for building efficiency) for Phase 1 of the building.
A: On Friday November 21st 2014, we announced that we reached our 85% fundraising threshold and the Temple Board had given their unanimous approval for Phase 1 construction to begin. See the e-blast here. Additionally, our arm’s length Financial Oversight Committee, chaired by Harley Mintz, has completed their work and confirmed that the estimated cost of Phase 1 is “based on reasonable assumptions and embodies sound and prudent financial practices.”
Since that time, we have completed the significant preliminary construction work necessary to allow us to remain on campus throughout the balance of Phase 1 construction. In the fall of 2015, we tendered the job of managing the balance of the Phase 1 construction work to six pre-qualified general contractor firms. Our Building Committee, with the guidance of our architect and our cost consultant, reviewed the bids from those general contractor firms and engaged in a value-engineering exercise with Pomerleau Inc., the contractor that submitted the best bid. As first noted in our mid-December 2015 construction update. The aim of this exercise was to reduce the cost of the rest of Phase 1 construction, as the bids came in higher than anticipated, when measured against the estimates prepared by our cost consultant in 2014 and the estimates prepared prior to tendering in the fall of 2015. Following this exercise, Pomerleau was retained to act as the general contractor for the construction of the balance of Phase 1, which will start in early May. Of course, we are continuing to fundraise for the balance of Phase 1 (and for Phase 2).
A: To this point in time, fundraising activities have remained focused on lead gifts. In the first quarter of 2016 we raised approximately $700,000. A congregation-wide fundraising campaign will be kicking off soon. In the meantime, we ask you to consider what will be a meaningful/aspirational contribution from your own family, as our Renewal Project will only truly succeed when all of our members give generously, each according to his or her means.
A: No. In addition to the Sanctuary and Philip Smith, the 3rd Floor Youth Chapel will remain open for Family Services and will be used as an alternate location for weekday morning services. The School Wing will also remain open and temporarily house our clergy as well as our Temple administrative functions and other regular Temple programming. See our handy location guide here for where everything (and everyone) can be found during the balance of Phase 1 construction.
A: Yes. The Renewal Project team appreciates the concerns of our families planning simchas, and we will continue to work on making our spaces as functional and welcoming as possible through the construction/transition period. While the Philip Smith Hall (on the lower level) and our Boardroom (main level) will be available as Simcha spaces for your family celebrations, the Eisendrath Auditorium (2nd level) will not be, as this will be the location of our brand new Family Chapel, part of Phase 1 construction.
A: Yes. The Main Sanctuary will be available through the balance of Phase 1 construction for Congregational Shabbat Services, Shabbat Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, and Saturday evening Weddings. If planning a wedding on a Sunday we can, with the advance notice, work with you to make the Sanctuary available.
A: Yes, Family Shabbat morning services will continue to run in the Youth Chapel on the 3rd floor beginning at 10:30, throughout all of Phase 1 construction.
A: Yes. The Philip Smith Hall will be available as a multi-use facility (including family Simchas), although its foyer, directly beneath the new Atrium, will not be. There will be a new temporary entrance to the school wing and the Philip Smith Hall, from the Ava Rd. parking lot, where the boardroom foyer is currently located.
A: We were on site during the 2015 High Holy Days, utilizing the Sanctuary, the Philip Smith Hall, the current Youth Chapel and the Enkin Boardroom and the Eisendrath Auditorium, as well as other spaces. (Click here for a recent “Life at Holy Blossom” article announcing more details.) We are working on plans now to stay on site during the 2016 High Holy Days recognizing that the Eisendrath Auditorium (the future location of our new Family Chapel) will not be available.
A: Yes. The current Boardroom will be used as a multi-purpose space during Phase 1 construction.
A:The current “school-style” washrooms will be available on the 2nd and 3rd floors during Phase 1 construction. These washrooms will be updated during Phase 2 construction, to provide for more comfortable, family access.
A: We regret that funerals will not be able to be held at Temple starting in the spring, as construction staging will make it impossible to access our Sanctuary with only a couple of days’ notice on weekdays. Alternate arrangements will need to be made.
A: Yes, with the advance notice of a wedding, we can work with you to plan for the Sanctuary to be available on Sundays.
A: Yes. They will be cleaned up and available during Phase 1 construction and renovated/updated as part of Phase 2.
A: Once construction of the balance of Phase 1 begins, there will be a reduction in the number of on-campus parking spots during the construction period.
A: Space will be available for WheelTrans and taxi drop off/pick up in the Ava Rd. parking lot.
A: Yes. Wheelchair accessibility is an imperative for the Renewal team. We will ensure there will be proper entry/exit to Temple and transit from the Sanctuary to the Philip Smith Hall and to other points within Temple.
A: Yes. A wheelchair accessible washroom(s) will be located in the School Wing.
A: Yes. We have asked our Audio/Visual consultants to include the FM system in their planning for the principal worship and meeting spaces in our renewed Temple. Additionally, an acoustical engineer has been retained to consult on and improve sound distribution in these spaces.
A: Safety is clearly of the utmost priority during the construction period and every precaution will be undertaken to ensure the safety of students, congregants and visitors in all areas of the building.
A: A new temporary entrance providing access to the building has been built where the Boardroom foyer is currently located..
A: The construction period will naturally result in periods of noise on campus. This may be disruptive from time to time.
A: Please email [email protected]. Our committee members or Temple staff will follow up promptly, with the most up to date information available. And your question and its answer will likely be added to this list.