The Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater New Haven is reopening its fitness center a year after flames broke out in the building’s lower level.
Fire, smoke and water damage forced the JCC to relocate activities and programs.
Over the last few months, facilities like the early learning center, pool and racquetball courts have reopened in phases.
An artistic quilt showing the history of the JCC of Greater New Haven had to be specially cleaned before being hanged in the main hallway.
On Wednesday, members will be able to return to the renovated fitness center downstairs near where the fire started.
A fresh coat of paint by the entrance, new carpet in the library and work on installing a new basketball gym floor are all part of the major revitalization of the JCC in New Haven.
"Given the scope of the damage and it was a devastating fire, our entire lower level has been reimagined, repurposed and totally made new," JCC CEO Judy Alperin said. "I think we’re doing pretty darn good in terms of our timeframe and yes it’s a miracle."
Through town halls, focus groups and online surveys, Alperin said community members shared their vision for renovating the building on Amity Road in Woodbridge.
"What they wanted was they wanted to come home here to the community building," Alperin said. "But they wanted it to be structured in such a way that it meets future needs, not the needs of the past."
Next week, fitness equipment will fill the redone health and wellness center that sustained serious water damage near where investigators said the accidental fire started in the men’s sauna.
When all the work is done, Alperin said members will find new features like spin bikes, a climbing wall, a co-working business space and new cafe.
"Our brand new café with high-end coffees and foods and things that we’ve never really had before," she said.
Insurance money is funding some of the renovations, Alperin said.
"We’ve embarked on a $2 million campaign," Alperin said of community fundraising efforts. "We’re a little over halfway through our goal and that will help to pay for these new enhancements that we’re doing as well as provide a safety net for future unanticipated needs."
A grand reopening and ribbon cutting is scheduled for March 18.