When 14 Northern Virginians met in 1969 to discuss the idea of building a Jewish Community Center, they hardly could have imagined that Northern Virginia’s Jewish population would eventually grow to nearly 70,000 people worshipping at more than 20 congregations and educating their children at a dozen Jewish preschools from Arlington to Loudoun.
To better accommodate this thriving population and plan for the future, the Henry S. Reich building on Little River Turnpike in Fairfax, which opened December 1990, is undergoing its first renovation since former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder dedicated the facility 25 years ago.
“We’re doing some renovations to our facility because it’s beginning to show its age a little bit,” said Jeff Dannick, JCCNV executive director. “Our building here is always full. It’s always active. And we want to make it the best possible place it can be for people who come here.”
Construction began last fall on the first phase of the renovations and is ongoing with upgrades to the restrooms, lobby, entryway, offices, the Bodzin Art Gallery and the adult lounge.
JCCNV member Mimi Rosenburg said she is excited about the renovations, “especially the bathrooms, the woman’s bathrooms,” she said with a laugh. Rosenburg said the Jerusalem stone on the walls look spectacular and praised the glass doors in the social room and the wooden doors going into the big social hall. “We are all excited. It’s going to be gorgeous.”
The first phase cost $600,000 and there is going to be a capital campaign for further enhancements in the next three to six years. The plans in development include additional improvements and investments in the main building and expansion into the broader community.
Dan Kirsch, JCCNV cultural arts director, said that in planning for any renovations, they are asking fundamental questions such as how demographics have changed and who is being served in the building.
“We have larger plans going forward down the road as eventually we head into a capital campaign and do things on a larger scale,” said Dannick.