A new Homewood campus Jewish student center looms on the horizon thanks to a $1 million donation to the school's Hillel organization. The gift, which includes the purchase of a building on North Charles Street, comes from a not-yet-disclosed donor.
Hillel, an organization that coordinates programming and activities for the school's estimated 800 Jewish students, was recently granted ownership of 3109 N. Charles St. and plans to either raze the existing building or renovate it for use as a student center.
The new facility will house Hillel office space and likely become a "meeting spot" for the Jewish student population, according to Stuart Diamant-Cohen, director of Hillel at the university. Diamant-Cohen said Hillel envisions the facility having meeting rooms, a study area and a lounge, amenities that also would serve the wider Homewood student population.
"We foresee in the future that students from other area schools might wish to use the facility," Diamant-Cohen said. "This facility is open to everyone. We hope it will serve as a social and cultural center for students of all persuasions."
Hillel currently operates out of an office at 3301 N. Charles St. and uses campus facilities for meetings and social functions.
The $1 million donation will go toward a capital campaign expected to raise between $8 million and $12 million to cover costs of construction, facility programs and staffing. The project is expected to take two to three years to complete.
Diamant-Cohen said his organization has scheduled a major survey of the building to determine the feasibility of either demolishing it or revamping it for student use. The building is currently being used as apartments, but Diamant-Cohen said all tenant contracts will be honored and people allowed to finish their leases.
The donor will be announced and honored on April 12 at an invitation-only luncheon that will be attended by noted Jewish philanthropist Edgar M. Bronfman, chairman of the Seagram Company Ltd., and Richard Joel, president of Hillel international.