JCC names upgraded facility for Staenbergs


The largest capital campaign ever for the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of St. Louis enters a new public phase after raising more than $45 million, nearly 90 percent of its $49 million goal. The JCC also announced plans to name the 150,000-square-foot renovation and addition on the I.E Millstone Jewish Community Campus in honor of the campaign’s largest donor – the Michael Staenberg family.

In addition to physical improvements, the campaign seeks to boost the JCC endowment by $6 million to ensure that the quality of mission programming remains strong.

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“As the campaign enters its final phase, we are simply delighted by the momentum of giving, ” said Todd Siwak, capital campaign co-chairman. “It is a testament to what ‘The J’ means to the Jewish community and to the community at large. It is inspired by a vibrant vision of community and continuity that will invigorate lives for generations to come. ” Siwak is co-chairing the campaign with JCC Board Chairman Michael Staenberg and Marilyn Fox.

The campaign is writing a new chapter in the storied history of the 128-year-old organization. Also funded have been improvements to the Marilyn Fox Building in Chesterfield and to Camp Sabra in Lake of the Ozarks. Approximately 70,000 people of all faiths participate in JCC programs annually.

Upgraded Space Will Honor Staenberg Family

At $37 million, the Millstone Campus upgrade is the largest component of the $49 million capital campaign. The Staenberg Family Foundation, founded by THF Realty President Staenberg and his wife, Carol, donated more than $15 million to the campaign. The renovated and new space will named to honor of the Staenberg family’s generosity.

“Every legacy worth advancing depends on stewardship, ” said I.E. Millstone, the visionary who launched ‘The J’ by donating 122 acres of land in the 1950s to create the Millstone campus. “The leadership and generosity of the Staenberg family will ensure we meet the needs of the 21st century by continuing to provide state-of-the-art facilities combined with programs of excellence. “

Founded in 1880 as the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, ‘The J’ was originally conceived of as a place where Jews could socialize in an era of intolerance. In addition to anticipating the westward migration of the Jewish population in St. Louis, Millstone went on to become a catalyst for the planning, zoning, fundraising, and vision behind the JCC campus concept.

Designed by Mitchell & Hugeback Architects, Inc., the project will result in 150,000 square feet of highly functional and efficient space. Ultimately, the building will combine the 90,000-sqare-foot new fitness & wellness facility and 60,000 square feet of reprogrammed space for cultural, educational and family programs. S.M. Wilson & Co. is the general contractor.

“The new facilities and programs will express our Jewish culture in ways that invite all to share in the experience of enduring community, ” said Lynn Wittels, JCC chief executive officer. “Already many have embraced the vision as usage of the Fox facility is up 23 percent compared to the first four months of 2007. “

The modernized facility will nearly double the fitness center to 16,126 square feet, add six fitness studios for specialized regimens and add new exercise equipment, flat screen TVs and cardiovascular monitors. Other additions include studios for spinning, yoga, Pilates, functional training and circuit training; spas with private massage rooms; and interactive fitness areas for children. Locker areas will also be upgraded with new steam rooms, saunas, whirlpools and family changing areas.

Other improvements include a new indoor aquatics center with lap swimming, warm water classes and a youth pool; a new two-court gym with an elevated track and upgraded racquetball and squash courts.

Enhancements to cultural program space include:

* Creating the new Jewish Learning Center (Beit Midrash) and improving the J Caf é;

* Building a new 300-plus-seat performance center that will also serve as a banquet center and expanding the Studio Black Box Theatre;

* Adding global reach with lectures and cultural programs delivered via satellite in interactive programs. In addition, Wi-Fi service will be available campus-wide;

* Creating a centralized early childhood center with expanded classrooms and a parenting center;

* Expanding and renovating adult day services areas.

Improvements to the Marilyn Fox Building and Camp Sabra

Earlier this year, nearly $4 million in improvements were completed at the 77,000-square-foot Marilyn Fox Building in Chesterfield. They included nearly doubling the fitness center to 12,224 square feet, tripling the size of child care accommodations and adding new amenities. Last summer, renovations to the outdoor swimming pool introduced numerous family-oriented aquatics.

In addition, the Marilyn Fox Building renovations added a number of green design elements to save energy, including thermal equalizers to more evenly distribute heating and air conditioning, occupancy sensors to activate and deactivate lighting and daylight harvesting to capitalize on natural lighting.

The first phase of $2 million in improvements to 300-acre Camp Sabra were completed in 2006 and focused on building a new swimming pool and upgrading accommodations for staff. Camp Sabra hosts more 500 campers each summer.

For more information on the more than 250 programs and services currently available at The J, visit www.jccstl.com.