In lifeatholyblossom, renewal

A very brief, post High Holy Days update on our Renewal Project…

As noted in lay leader remarks from the bimah at Rosh Hashanah, we’ve been working very hard to achieve the 85% in pledges required to start construction of Phase 1 of the project. As you can imagine, summer is a slow period for fundraising with so many being away, but autumn has been very active thus far.

The very good news is that at this writing, we are only a few hundred thousand dollars away from our goal of raising 85% of the current $22.5 million estimated cost of Phase 1. In the last two months alone, we’ve raised over $750,000, and there are many significant asks in the final stages of completion. All to say, we hope to be at our goal in just a few more weeks.

For those who need a refresher: Phase 1 includes the construction of our beautiful new central Atrium, new Family Chapel, new Administrative Wing, new elevator and brand new HVAC and mechanical systems. (Phase 1 also includes all hard and soft costs for these elements, including substantial contingencies, expenses associated with fundraising, transition and financing and all costs to date, including the cost of purchasing the two houses on Ava and Dewbourne.)

At the same time, our arm’s length Financial Oversight Committee, chaired by Harley Mintz, has almost completed its review of the costing prepared by our external project cost consultants.

We have already obtained a building permit from the city to start the preliminary work needed to ready the school wing to temporarily house the Temple’s activities during construction.  This will be the first step of Phase 1 and will include installing our new elevator (near the current boardroom entrance), new washrooms on the lower level, a temporary rabbinic suite on the third floor and preliminary electrical and mechanical work.  (All of this preliminary work is included in Phase 1 costs.)  Remember, our phasing plan allows us to keep our campus open and our community thriving throughout Phase 1 construction, with a fully accessible school wing and main sanctuary. It should be pretty close to business as usual during Phase 1 construction, even if in somewhat tighter quarters!

This preliminary work will start as soon as we hit our fundraising threshold and the Financial Oversight Committee completes its work.  It’s not quite the October start date we established some 18 months ago, but we fully expect to start Phase 1 construction before the end of 2014, with completion of all preliminary work by the spring. We expect all of Phase 1 construction to be complete, and our brand new spaces ready to occupy, sometime in mid-2016.

Of course, our fundraising work will not stop once we hit the 85% Phase 1 threshold. At that point, we will expand our fundraising campaign more broadly within our congregation as we strive towards 100% of Phase 1 costs and then onward, to raise the additional funds required for Phase 2.  As described in previous communications, we plan to start Phase 2 construction once we have raised 85% of the anticipated cost of Phase 2, ideally right after the completion of Phase 1, or after as short a hiatus as possible.

In the meantime, we encourage you take the 10-stop Renewal self-guided tour at Temple (as many did during High Holy Days), see the new renderings on display in the Ava Road foyer, review all of the content on the renewal tab at (including the FAQ’s) and share your thoughts and ideas with us in person or at [email protected].

Renewal at Holy Blossom has always been about both spirit and space. If you were here with us for Rabbi Splansky’s Installation Weekend and the High Holy Days, you undoubtedly felt the wholly positive and hopeful sense of spirit growing in our community. It is precisely that spirit that has spurred the generosity of our donors, and has put us on the threshold of a seminal moment in our history – a physically renewed Holy Blossom. And it will be that spirit that continues to carry us forward to the completion of our project.

Most sincerely,

Tom Friedland
Chair, Renewal Project Steering Committee
[email protected]

Cary Solomon
Chair, Renewal Project Building Committee
[email protected]

Harvey Schipper
[email protected]

Joan Garson
[email protected]

Rabbi Yael Splansky
Senior Rabbi
[email protected]

Russ Joseph
Executive Director
[email protected]

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  • Lindi Rivers

    The excitement and wonderful feeling around the Temple is palpable. We are really just moments away from beginning this giant step into the future of our beloved congregational home. We can all be a part of this so I encourage every member to get involved. To the many who are selflessly putting their heart and soul into this important work and – I admire and honour your dedication. Thank you. This is really going to be great and I for one can’t wait until the joyful noise of construction begins!

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