Temple Emanu-El is scheduled to complete its two-year-long renovation and construction campaign later this month. After rainy springs, work will finish just three months past the original target date.
“With our new and renovated spaces, the entire campus is poised to nurture the Jewish community of the future, just as it has been a source of inspiration, social justice, and extraordinary leadership since its founding in 1872,” said spokesperson Connie Dufner.
A renovated exterior courtyard and new main entrance, now in the final stages of construction, will mark the conclusion of the two-year effort. Also nearing completion are lighting and acoustic improvements to the Olan Sanctuary, as well as a renovated kitchen and auditorium.
“This is a wonderful project that is truly a reflection of this dynamic community,” said Highland Park resident Joshua Gold. “I could not be prouder.”
The $38 million construction project began in the fall of 2014. It was made possible by a congregation-wide fundraising campaign called “Our Temple, Our Future.”
A renovated early childhood education center opened last August. Changes include a new lobby and entrance, as well as expanded classrooms.
This past January, a second story for clergy and staff was added to the administration building on the Hillcrest Road side of campus. The Tycher Gathering Space near the renovated entrance also opened that month.
“The new gathering space has quickly become a go-to spot for spontaneous conversations, meetings, receptions, and more,” Dufner said.
The 517-seat Stern Chapel opened in April. Its windows overlook the Nasher-Haemisegger Atrium. Dallas artist Linda Ridgway collaborated with Jim Cinqueman to create the “Detail of Ner Tamid”, or “Eternal Light”, sculpture.
New York artist Suzanne Tick designed a weaving on the ark doors and Pennsylvania woodworker Mira Nakashima created wood furnishings for the bimah, or pulpit.
“The changes have been enthusiastically received by the congregation,” Dufner said. “The chapel is breathtakingly beautiful and does a magnificent job of bringing the beauty of the outdoors inside for moments of quiet and reflection.”
The Beck Group was in charge of construction. Cunningham Associates were the building architects, while Hocker Design Group oversaw landscaping architectural designs.
“We are grateful to our partners at Shearith Israel, the Jewish Community Center, Temple Shalom, the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, Park Cities Baptist Church, and the Museum of Biblical Art for their support as we sought temporary office, worship, and programming spaces,” Dufner said.
A formal dedication ceremony will be held on Sept. 11. The public is invited to join in an afternoon of community celebration. Organizers promise activities, food, and fun for all.