Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life FAQ
- What is the Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life?
The Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life creates a common space for organizations to enhance the quality of Jewish life in the greater Harrisburg region and serve the community at large, regardless of religious affiliation. This property 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 Campus will provide the following:
- Education: Brenner Family Early Learning Center (infant-PreK), Silver Academy (grades PreK-8), and Hebrew High School (grades 8-12), as well as educational programming for all ages
- Senior Services: Senior Center to serve seniors regardless of religious affiliation
- Health & Wellness: High-end fitness center, Sports Center complete with a basketball court, and wellness programming
- Social services: counseling and therapy, food assistance, and adoption services
- Community Programs: arts & culture, interfaith, social justice, and more
The Campus will be located on the grounds of the current Dixon University Center, 2986 N. 2nd Street in Harrisburg, PA – 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 hope to have almost everyone on the Campus by Fall 2022, although some organizations may not move over until early 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 – our new basketball court/gym will be located in what is currently Duncan Hall, which was originally a basketball court/gym in the early-mid twentieth century. This is the most significant renovation needed on the Campus and will not be open until at least late in 2022.
- 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 a pool at the Campus?
No – at least not in “Phase 1.” We understand that many people love and use the pool at our current facility. In the short term, we will continue to keep our current building’s pool available to our members and community. In the long term, we are exploring the financial and structural viability of building a pool on the Campus. Either way, we are committed to ensuring that our members can have access to a pool for recreational use, the swim team, and swim classes by partnering with other organizations in the community as needed so there will not be a gap in providing access to a pool.
- Will there be an auditorium at the Campus?
No – while the Campus has many large meeting rooms that can seat as many as 200, there is no standard auditorium with a stage. We will look to partner with other community organizations (Scottish Rite, for example) to fill that need.
- 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.