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Frequently Asked Questions

More Questions (and Answers!) will be added to this document as the project evolves, to reflect additional congregant questions as well as progress made on the project. Please continue to refer to these FAQs for updated information.

GENERAL CAMPAIGN AND TIMING QUESTIONS

How much has been raised? What was the goal?

Our goal is to enter the new building with no debt and no mortgage and a fund for deferred maintenance. We believe this is fiscally responsible. The total amount we need to have on hand to build, furnish and program in the new building is $4.5 million.
The current budget for just the construction of the building is close to $3.7 million, excluding furnishings. We have been working with the contractor to keep the budget reasonable and have gone ‘back to the drawing board’ several times. This number is higher than first anticipated due to a combination of the current building boom, natural disasters and recent tariffs. The increase is not attributed to enhancements or special requests (other than an elevator add).
We believe it is prudent to begin construction with a cushion for unanticipated challenges.
We need to furnish the building, including the sanctuary, as well as have programming funds to engage congregants of all ages in our new home.

 

As of April 1, 2019, we currently have over $3 million in the bank from the sale of the building and cash already in from pledges to the campaign.  Any funding in excess of the goal will allow us to provide additional programming and deferred maintenance as we meet the needs of our growing congregation.

Why did we need a fundraising campaign?
When we purchased our new location, we did so by talking to a few contractors who projected a simple renovation with a budget of $2 million.  It took us some time to sell our former location and during that time, the design of our new location evolved.  Modernizing our new locations is simply going to cost more than originally planned.  The proceeds from the sale, plus paying off our mortgage which secured our new location and a significant increase in the cost of construction had left us short of funds. While we will not overspend on this renovation, we will not incur debt or add a building assessment to membership commitments either, so we needed to raise the funds to pay for the renovations.

How much did we make from the sale of our building? How much is available to improve the new location?

 

Our former location sold for $3,950,000 and we netted $2,248,000 for the improvement of the building. Although this was the only viable offer received, it was competitive given the location and real estate market. We are especially pleased that the offer was from a religious organization which we believe resulted in a higher price as the buyer is able to use the building without significant renovation. The difference between the sales price and the funds available is as follows:

 

  • $1,260,000 million for our new location. This includes the cost of the real estate, realtor fees, and closing costs.
  • $442,000 to repay our loan to the Temple Israel Foundation (includes $21,000 of interest). The loan from the Foundation was necessary due to several years of shortfall between membership income and Temple expenses. We are grateful we had access to The Temple Israel Foundation in our time of need. You may remember that several years ago we received an unsolicited offer of $8 million for our previous building. While we actively pursued this opportunity, the offer turned out to be unviable. As part of the process in pursuit of the offer we hosted a congregational town hall, and those that participated in the meeting reached a consensus that, regardless of the outcome of the unsolicited offer, a smaller space would better serve our congregation. In many ways, the unsolicited offer became the opening for some healthy and important congregational dialogue about our future. Ultimately, the $3,950,000 sale price was the only viable offer made for the building.

How will my gift be recognized?

 

All gifts will be recognized even if they are not eligible for specific naming opportunities. Recognition will include plaques, synagogue communications, etc. Gifts can also be recognized as anonymous. We believe naming opportunities provide congregants a way to memorialize their families and legacy.

 

 

What are the naming opportunities?

We have provided an initial menu of naming rights options. These will continue to evolve as design initiatives are finalized. Please see naming opportunities.

 

Can I set up a payment plan for my pledge over multiple years?

We are happy to accommodate a payment plan at a member's request.  We will still need to pay for the cost of construction for the entire building at its completion, and deferred payments might result in a need and interest expense of a short-term bank loan.  Therefore we ask that payment plans only be established for donations greater than $5000, or if you are truly in need of a deferment. If you prefer such a payment plan, please complete the commitment form accordingly.  We are grateful for your contribution. Thank you so much!

 

How does this campaign impact other fundraising for the synagogue?
Annual membership and religious school dues keep the lights on for all our members. Therefore, we prefer you prioritize your annual membership commitment which we hope will be paid prior to your building campaign pledge.

 

Can I make a planned gift?

Yes! Temple Israel Foundation provides a perpetual stream of funding to the Synagogue. Gifts made to the Foundation are invested and earnings of approximately 4 to 4.5% are returned to the Temple to provide additional funding for Temple Israel activities and operations. Also, Foundation gifts are made in perpetuity, providing a perpetual stream of funding to Temple Israel beyond the life of the donor. For more information or to learn more about how to set up a Legacy gift, please contact Brian Tuckerman, Foundation President, at gc@columbus.rr.com or Elaine Tenenbaum, Foundation Executive Director, at etenenbaum@tifound.org.

 

How will we cover non-recurring maintenance expenses after the building is open?
A special building maintenance reserve will be funded with a portion of current membership commitments to ensure long term viability. Our synagogue is unique in relying on the commitments of our members without an upcharge for a separate building fund. Rather than assess an additional building fund, we prefer to focus on annual membership commitments commensurate with the average per family cost to operate the Synagogue.

 

When will we move into our new building?
Completion of plans, permitting and zoning will enable us to be ready to break ground. Our contractor anticipates 12 months of construction.

 

What is the project finish time of the renovations?
This is still unknown as we are looking at ways to continue to cut costs and value engineer (always). We promise to communicate updates as we work with the City, the architect and the construction manager. This is a complex and tedious process, but we are committed to being transparent with the congregation. We want to commence and complete construction as soon as practically possible, but with construction costs going through the roof, what is necessary versus what is nice to have is now top of mind.

 

PHYSICAL SPACE QUESTIONS

 

UPDATE: How are we making sure our new building is secure? What will we have in place to protect our congregants?
We are uniquely positioned to make our new facility a model for what it means to be a secure synagogue facility in the 21st century. We take this very seriously and are working with experts to achieve this goal.We have had security experts walk our new property and have spoken with local law enforcement. Our security committee continues to be engaged as well.

 

Could we move into the new building as-is, do minimal work and not expand the footprint?

Unfortunately, this was never an option. The facility fell below existing building codes, as it had not been updated in decades. When we purchased the building we did not plan on expanding the footprint significantly. However, given our growing membership and the suggested design modifications to accommodate our needs, we are adding approximately 9,000 sq. ft. to the new building to make sure that the worship space, social hall, classrooms, offices, storage and bathrooms are sufficient. Even so, the new building is still significantly smaller than our prior building (19,000 sq. ft. vs 59,000 sq. ft.).

Given that the congregation is growing, how much do you foresee it growing? Will this building be big enough for our congregation?
Regarding the growth of our congregation, we anticipated losing as much as 30% of our congregation. However, since we have left our former location, we grew by approximately 10%.   We remain committed to not overbuilding - we will not build to optimistic or short-term numbers.   Of course, it would be optimal to have all services to meet our congregational needs located in our new facility, but it also might be necessary to hold High Holidays in a location which is larger than what we contemplate building.-

What is the new floor plan compared to the existing floor plan?
The new footprint is projected to a total size of ~ 19,000 square feet (or less) versus a former square footage of ~ 59,000 square feet.

How can we accommodate attendance on High Holidays given the anticipated size of the building?
We will most likely have to hold 2 services for each High Holiday vs. 1 (in addition to children's service, teen service, etc). However, we will continue to determine whether there are other options in the city that are cost beneficial. We are choosing not to size our building solely for High Holiday Services.  The expansion of the sanctuary would be strictly to accommodate life cycle events, such as B’nai Mitzvahs and larger funerals, but nothing is set in stone and in the end, will be cost driven.

How are named opportunities from the previous building being memorialized/recognized in the new building?

The new building will honor its history in a couple of ways. Previously named artifacts will retain their named rights. A special plaque will recognize donors from the previous building. Please know that those memorialized on our sacred memorial wall will continue to be honored. A committee of congregants will make sure our artifacts are properly placed within our new home.


How much natural light will there be in the atrium/social hall area?
Although not yet finalized, the plan is to have as much light as possible throughout the building.

Will there be an elevator?
Yes, there will be an elevator to accommodate a wheelchair or walker. A regular elevator is extremely expensive, takes up space and is costly to maintain.

What type of space will be available for volunteers to do office-type work?
The dedicated office space will have enough room for volunteers. There will also be additional space on the first floor for volunteer work.

Will there be moveable walls and other design elements to maximize the uses of the space?
Yes, we will have movable walls throughout the building to allow for maximum creative use of all spaces. 

What is going to happen with the windows in the sanctuary?
Given the increase in labor, materials and city requirements, we continue to review and make changes to the renovation footprint. We are working with interior designers to make room and incorporate many of the art/artifacts which we took with us when we vacated our former location. Given the dramatic reduction in space, that will be a thoughtful effort.

How will the new sanctuary accommodate those with hearing impairments?
We are still finalizing the design of the building and have just started our meetings with the interior designer. We have asked the architect and builder to research option to maximize participation for those with hearing impairments including the LOOP to determine whether this is a cost-effective option for Temple Israel. Devices used in the past were often less than effective and we are looking at alternatives to replace our former devices.

Will there be a chapel?
We do not plan to have a separate chapel because doing so would require increasing the size of the building significantly at a substantial cost. We plan to have one sanctuary that will accommodate our congregation. Current design allows the sanctuary to accommodate additional seating into the social hall when larger services occur.


Will the bima be accessible for those with disabilities?
We plan to have a wheelchair accessible ramp leading up to the bima.

How the parking will work?
There will be two parking lots and two entrances to the building. The curb cuts/entrances will be redone to minimize traffic on East Broad as well as to maximize efficiency for Temple and as required has been approved by the City of Columbus. We will continue to have special duty officers from the Columbus Police Department present whenever the situation or traffic warrants.

What will the outdoor space be like? How we are planning to use it effectively? What are we planning to do to minimize the bell tower?
Currently we have 36 trees being "held" at a nursery to be planted. These trees were a tribute to Rabbi Zinkow upon his departure and we envision these in our orchard.  Other features in our space include a meditation garden, playground, memorial garden, and a hybrid worship/music/education facility.  The entire campus will be a beautiful green space and purposeful addition.

Tue, July 23 2019 20 Tammuz 5779