BY KRISTIN SCHULTZ
NISKAYUNA — It just got a lot cooler to be a member at the Schenectady Jewish Community Center — literally.
After a year of planning in consultation with members, its board and staff, followed by four months of construction work, contractors have packed up their ladders, leaving instead air conditioning and new women’s and family locker rooms.
“There was a clear need for the renovation,” said board president Marv Garfinkel. “We owed it to our members.”
In addition to general freshening up via a coat of paint, the women’s locker room now has completely new wood lockers, new tile flooring, private changing rooms and vanities with hair dryers for those hitting the gym before heading to work.
“It’s more visually appealing,” said fitness director Terry Santoro. “There is more privacy and the added HVAC system reduces humidity and makes the locker rooms more pleasant. People are very happy.”
Prior to the renovations, there was no air conditioning in the locker rooms, which made for an uncomfortable summertime experience. Now, however, members can enjoy the climate control and get ready for work or errands in a low-humidity, temperature-controlled environment.
With people preferring to take after-workout showers at home instead of the gym, creating private changing areas instead of installing additional showers was a priority.
Just down the hall from the women’s locker room is the newly revamped family locker room. Capturing some adjacent, under-utilized space, the JCC expanded the family locker room, which now includes private changing areas, new benches and lockers, tile floors and fresh paint as well as an updated HVAC system.
The family locker room can accommodate parents with young children as well as members with special needs.
The nearly $400,000 project was part of the JCC’s overall strategic plan to improve its infrastructure. To date, the center has invested in computer technology and cloud storage, made updates to the HVAC and pool mechanical systems and installed a spin room and HIIT training room.
“We want our members to know that we’re investing in them,” said executive director Mark Weintraub, who went on to describe future projects on the campus, which will include indoor and outdoor beautification, renovating the men’s locker room and more.
“We want to thank the members who put up with the construction. They were troopers,” said Weintraub. “They didn’t seem to mind because they knew we were investing in them.”
Rosch Brothers Inc. served as the general contractor on the project with architectural work by Mike Roth of Stracher Roth Gilmore Architects and HVAC design by Mark Cambria of Fusion Systems Engineering.