News Post

We're Building a Gym!
We're Building a Gym!
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TBA Construction Shift: Gym to Start Construction Immediately, School Building Temporarily Delayed

We are writing to make you aware of some changes in the next phase of construction, how that came about and what that means moving forward. We had planned to begin our Campus Expansion with a new state-of-the-art school building and always hoped that if funds were available, we would include a dynamic gymnasium as a key element of the project. However, due to some complex power utility issues affecting our neighborhood and our building plans for the school, we will be starting immediate construction of the gymnasium, while timing of the school construction is temporarily delayed.

For more information, please read below.

As you know, we are in the midst of our Campus Renovation and Expansion Project, a major initiative that will reinforce our leadership role at the center of the Los Angeles Jewish spiritual and educational community and enrich our legacy for generations to come. With construction of the beautifully reimagined sanctuary well underway, we hope that you can already envision what it will bring to our community as an inviting prayer space for worship and celebration.
Check out the feed from our live camera and watch the daily progress:

Thank you again for your support and investment in this significant undertaking to help us meet the evolving 21st Century needs of our congregation.

After robust analysis and thoughtful discussion of the issues outlined below, the Board of Trustees voted at its July 17 Special Meeting to proceed with the construction of the gymnasium, with demolition of the Corning properties starting around July 31. The gym will bring great benefits to the community, as outlined in this letter, and we are excited to bring this new facility to life.

We take seriously our role as stewards of the school and congregation and of the resources the community has donated to this project. And we took great care in coming to this decision in the best interest of our shared future.

We will also be hosting a meeting on Thursday, August 9 at 7:00 p.m.
to answer your questions.

How and why did this change come about?
Our lay leadership, in concert with our design and construction contractors, have been working diligently on all of the necessary permitting and regulatory approvals required for construction projects. One mandatory element of property development in Los Angeles is the sufficiency of the area's electrical power supply to meet the needs of new facilities. And so our process has involved ongoing coordination with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).
Over the course of the last six months, it has been conveyed to us that the current and potential demands on our area power grid – where neighboring properties draw power from a shared and limited supply – have changed. LADWP came to the determination that there is not significant power at this time to support our new middle school as designed (or other comparable projects in the neighborhood) without the massive expansion of the existing power grid, the cost of which would be in the millions of dollars – complications that were not factors impeding the earlier stages of development.

At this time, LADWP neither has the funds to pay for this expansion, nor does it have major developers willing to fund it.

With the hands-on involvement of expert advisors, we underwent complex negotiations for several months to try achieving an outcome that would allow us to proceed as planned on the existing power grid. Unfortunately, LADWP's final determination, which we received on June 21, was that they would only commit to allocating enough power at this time to build the gymnasium, because it requires substantively less power than the school.

The Board thoroughly reviewed the options available to us in light of this LADWP determination. The only viable option, which we have adopted, was to initiate construction of the gymnasium as designed, while simultaneously continuing our dialogue with LADWP for our additional power needs.

What does this mean to our campus and community?
We understand that the delay in construction of the school raises questions and concerns, so we want to address those issues and share the benefits this change offers:

Fast-track Gymnasium Completion: Thanks to the community's generous contributions, we have the initial financial resources and the necessary approvals to begin construction of the gymnasium. For those of you who have been awaiting the building of the gym, the time is ripe for your support, and we will need to raise the funds necessary for its completion.

The gymnasium has a projected completion date of 9-12 months from the point of demolition later this month. When it is completed, our community will be home to a 6,000 square foot facility, with multiple donor naming opportunities. The gymnasium will be a vibrant asset complete with bleacher seating, and regulation sports courts. In addition, it is designed to function as a multi-purpose "theaternasium," with theater lighting and the capacity to host school functions, such as plays, graduation and community events.
Extended Use of Corning Field: Construction of the gymnasium will not impact or obstruct the playing field, which is bringing great joy to our community and getting significant use as the first open green space on our campus. In fact, the size of the field will be expanded. In addition to hosting events and athletics/playtime, we are looking at adapting the field for use as outdoor classroom space while we are navigating the path to build our school.

Parallel Track to Initiate School Construction: As mentioned, we will continue to actively explore options with LADWP to determine how and when the additional power will be available in our neighborhood to support the school. We are committed to building the school as envisioned, as a facility designed to change education with flexible, collaborative and fun learning spaces.

We are extremely fortunate to have an unparalleled group of dedicated teachers and faculty serving our current school programs and will continue to support their training and professional development as they prepare for our new collaborative learning environment.

Thank you for your support and understanding during this process, which will ultimately lead to a greatly enhanced educational and worship experience. Together we are building the heart and home of our community for the next 50 years and beyond.

You will continue to hear from us periodically with more information and project updates as information becomes available. In the meantime, if you have questions, please feel free to contact any of us, visit our website at www.tbala.org/constructionor email construction@tbala.org.