Honoring the generations that came before us, and creating a legacy for the many more yet to come, The Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life will soon become a central hub for our community to gather, to learn, to nurture, and to connect.
The 6+ acres campus and six spacious buildings will provide ample space for a multitude of educational, cultural, philanthropic, and wellness programs for people 6 months to 106 years old.
The Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life is possible thanks to the generosity of the Alexander Grass Foundation. President of the Foundation Elizabeth Grass Weese said, "My brother, Roger, and I are thrilled we could be part of this new chapter for the Jewish Community. Our father, Alex Grass, was a pillar of the Harrisburg community. His legacy will live on through this vision of comprehensive programs and activities, serving the entire community from birth to seniors. We share our father’s vision and know The Grass Campus will ensure sustainability into the future.”
We invite you to take a walk around the grounds at 2986 North Second Street. Stay up-to-date on the exciting and ongoing developments by subscribing to our mailing list and looking for updates in the Community Review and at town hall meetings. We will also be keeping this page updated as new developments occur.
What is the Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life?
The Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life is a major development for the Jewish community of Harrisburg – and the Harrisburg community at large. The 6.4 acre property will soon become THE centralized hub for Jewish life, providing space for a variety of programs and organizations, room to meet and convene, and a safe and nurturing space for our community to learn, celebrate, and connect. The campus will house the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg and the JCC, the Silver Academy - Central PA’s Jewish Day school, and Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Greater Harrisburg.
The following organizations, programs, and services will be located here:
The Campus is located at 2986 N. 2nd Street in Harrisburg, PA (formerly Dixon University), a few blocks south of the current Jewish Federation/JCC facility. The property is 6.42 acres, 135,000 square feet, and comprises six buildings.
When will the Federation, JCC, and other organizations move to the Campus?
The timeline will be different for each organization depending on whether renovations are needed. We plan to have everyone on the Campus in 2023. While the Campus is undergoing renovations, our current facility will be fully open and running so that we can continue to offer all of our programs and activities.
How are we paying for the Campus?
The purchase of the Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Alexander Grass Foundation.
Is there enough parking available?
Yes! The Campus has over 100 parking spaces in an underground garage and there are above ground parking lots behind what are currently Hughes Hall and Duncan Hall.
Will we need to make upgrades to the Campus before we move in?
Yes! We will need to make certain upgrades to the Campus. The property has been well-maintained, there are no structural issues, and it already is ADA accessible. However, we will need to renovate certain spaces to meet our needs, particularly with the early learning center and basketball court/gym.
Will organizations and individuals be able to rent the space for events and meetings?
Yes! We will plan to make the Campus available to event and meeting rentals at some point in 2022. Additional information will be available at that time, but we are looking forward to using both the indoor and outdoor spaces to host many celebrations, events, and meetings.
Will the new Campus have a fitness center?
Yes! Our new fitness center will be a high-end facility, with state-of-the-art equipment overlooking the Susquehanna River.
Will there be a basketball court/gym at the Campus?
Yes! This is the most significant renovation needed on the Campus and will not be open until 2023. The gym will be a PIAA-sized regulation court.
Are there concerns that part of the Campus is in a flood zone?
No – the Dixon University Center has not been impacted by flooding in any of their finished, aboveground spaces. In fact, the Silver Academy students moved to the Dixon University Center for several months when the JCC was flooded in 2011.
What is the plan for the current Federation/JCC building?
The Federation will be looking for a buyer for our current facility. An arrangement will be made with any buyer that we stay at the JCC until we are ready to move to the Campus.
Will there be pickleball at the Campus?
Yes! The gymnasium/basketball court can be converted to 4 pickleball courts.
Will there be a pool at the Campus?
Yes! Our new plans include a swimming pool which will be used for swimming laps, physical therapy, aquatics classes, and swimming lessons (but will not be a competition pool).
Will there be an auditorium at the Campus?
Yes! The new gymnasium can be converted to an auditorium space with a stage and plenty of seating for large events. Spaces like this are sometimes referred to as a 'gymatorium' since they can serve both purposes.
Have other communities successfully moved to a Campus?
Yes – from the Dell Jewish Community Campus (Shalom Austin) in Austin, TX to the Millstone Campus in St. Louis, MO, there are many examples of a common campus for a community’s Jewish organizations. We have worked with our parent organizations – JCCA and JFNA – to learn about these other campus examples and connect with both their professional and lay leaders. We will continue to learn from other communities as we develop plans for our new Campus.
If you sell the JCC, will there be a time when people have no place to go as the Campus is under construction?
While the Campus is undergoing renovations, our current facility will be fully open and running so that we can continue to offer all of our programs and activities. An arrangement will be made with any buyer that we stay at the JCC until we are ready to move to the Campus.
How can a community member volunteer to help?
Please contact GrassCampus@jewishfedhbg.org for more information on how to volunteer to help!
How will we be kept up to date on what is happening with the Campus?
We want everyone to feel the excitement of the Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life and we look forward to sharing information with you in upcoming emails, on the Federation’s website, in the Community Review, at town hall meetings, and more.