Brooklyn, NY Projects for social service agencies take on special significance for a project team. The ripple effects of a completed project pay dividends and extend benefits to the community far into the future. Boddewyn Gaynor Architects’ (BGA) work for The Hebrew Educational Society (The H.E.S.) is a poignant example of such a project.
The H.E.S. is a community center in the southeastern section of the borough. Established in 1899 and led by a voluntary board of directors, The H.E.S. serves 1,200 people daily in this multi-cultural community. It provides educational, recreational, cultural, sports and social-service programs to the Canarsie area’s diverse and ever-changing population.
After occupying their 45,000 s/f facility for 50 years, the board of directors of this not-for-profit organization applied to the NYC Economic Development Corp. (EDC), and the UJA, for Grants to make infrastructure improvements to this heavily utilized facility.
Working with Project Control Group (the owner’s representative), BGA assisted in assembling a team of consultants and builders to implement the upgrades to the two-story building complex. The addition of energy efficiency measures served to increase comfort while reducing the operating costs and the carbon footprint.
BGA is leading the project design team and working with JFK&M Consulting Group (the mechanical engineers), to implement a number of building-wide upgrades. These include: The replacement of the existing rooftop AC units, supplying the gym and the auditorium, with high-efficiency units; a new Dectron Dehumidification unit for the pool; and a fire alarm system to meet the latest code requirements.
In terms of architectural work, BGA developed design and contract documents for the replacement of all the windows; the refurbishment of the gymnasium – floor, basketball backstops and motorized bleachers; and converted a storage room into a multi-purpose classroom.
At the pool, they are removing the hung ceiling and developing an indirect lighting scheme which will improve visibility for the lifeguards. The state of the art LED lamp technology will reduce lamp replacement while providing a more decorative light fixture.
The Phased construction process is scheduled over several months to accommodate the children’s summer programs in conjunction with AJS Construction, Prime Mechanical and Adler Windows to minimize the disruption to this very active community facility. As with so many infrastructure upgrade projects, when the construction work is done, it will be hard to see what has changed! The good news is that this community-based facility is well-positioned to continue serving the Canarsie neighborhood for another 50 years!
The H.E.S website states that, “The agency is the primary source of support for working parents and their children. ... Each year more than 800 preschoolers, children and teenagers participate in H.E.S. programs and activities. ... The agency operates an array of programs for developmentally disabled children and adults. There are several programs available for autistic children and their families. ... The H.E.S. is a safe haven for their children to learn, grow, have fun and fulfill their dreams.”
BGA is privileged to have the opportunity to work with The H.E.S. team and bring their collective talents to assist this most worthwhile organization to fulfill its ongoing mission. May the ripples continue to expand.