New front, back doors open at JCC

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It’s been more than a year since the front doors closed and construction started in earnest on the renovations to the Jewish Alliance’s Bonnie and Donald Dwares Jewish Community Center, in Providence.

The new front and back entrances opened on April 19.

Enter through the Sandra and Richard Bornstein Entrance Way, and you’ll be able to walk up the center staircase to the bright Salmanson Family Upper Lobby, which has comfortable seating and plenty of place for conversation. The Victor and Gussie Baxt Social Hall remains in its original location. Off the lobby will be the newly relocated Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center. Can’t make it up the stairs? There’s a handicapped-accessible elevator to the left of the front door.

You can also walk down a flight of stairs to a second lobby for access to the J-Fitness Center or the David C. Isenberg Family Early Childhood Center. The first-floor lobby is also accessible from the rear parking lot. This new entrance is in an area where the Holocaust Center used to be. But you might not recognize it any more. There will be a new welcome desk in that area.

Alliance leadership is excited about the changes.

“I am so elated that our new secure and accessible Alliance’s Dwares JCC is about to open to everyone in our community,” said Jeffrey Savit, president and CEO of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.  “I take such great pride walking through the doors, knowing that they provide such lovely gateways to not only our beautiful new lobbies, but to the wonderful community events and programs we stage here on a daily basis.”

Renovations aren’t quite complete. The Baxt Social Hall is still under construction, as is the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center. Some of the downstairs offices are nearing completion.

Said Savit: “Each day, I grow more excited watching the renovations continue to take shape.”

There also will be some changes to other entrances and exits around the building. The new front and back doors will now be the only entrances and exits to the Dwares JCC building.

All the other entrances and exits will now be emergency exits only. This includes the Sessions Street door often used as an entrance to the Alliance offices, the door that has led to the existing elevator and the current fitness desk, and the door that has been used as an entrance/exit to the ECC.

A grand reopening and dedication ceremony is planned for May 24, with programming for all ages.

FRAN OSTENDORF is the editor of The Jewish Voice.