Local Agency to Lease House Abel Wolman built in 1930s By Steve Libowitz In June 1993, Hopkins trustee Harvey M. Meyerhoff bought Abel Wolman's Charles Street house for a reported $191,000 and then donated it to the university. Now the house is about to become home to an agency that serves a 7,000-member student community. After final details are addressed, the house will be leased by The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore for use by the Jewish College Services Agency, said Jerome Schnydman, director of Alumni Relations and adviser to the Hopkins Jewish Student Association. "The new tenant is a community-based organization serving the needs of Jewish college students in 31 undergraduate and graduate programs throughout the region," Schnydman said. "Although Hopkins students will use it and benefit from it, it is not a special building for the Hopkins Jewish Student Association." Schnydman said the offices in the building may accommodate several JCS agency staff. However, he said, it is primarily being designed for classes, religious services, movies and other social activities. "This will be a major center for student programming in the Baltimore area," said Lawrence M. Ziffer, the Associated's vice president of community development in an interview with The Baltimore Jewish Times. In the same interview, Eli Konvitz, a Hopkins sophomore and chairman of the Inter-Campus Council of local Jewish college students, said that the new house will supplement, but not supplant, existing campus Jewish student centers. "Hopefully, it will become a place for people to hang out," Konvitz said. "I see a real community growing around it." Abel Wolman, who received a bachelor of arts degree from Hopkins in 1913 and a bachelor of science degree two years later, was a highly regarded professor at Hopkins for 52 years. He was known internationally for his expertise in water resources and public health. He built the four-story house in 1938 and lived there until his death in 1989, at the age of 96. The house is still in mint condition and is considered by historians to be one of the most impressive works by noted architect Laurence Hall Fowler. Although Hopkins president William C. Richardson wanted to keep the house for the university, he could not justify the purchase. That's when Meyerhoff stepped forward and bought it for the university. Schnydman thought the house would make a perfect home for the Hopkins Jewish Student Association. The administration was agreeable to the idea, as was Meyerhoff, as long as no university money was used to lease or renovate the space. Schnydman met with representatives of the Associated, who agreed to put up some of the money, but only if the property served more than just Hopkins students. After months of negotiation, the deal was done. Schnydman said additional funding is being sought to redesign and furnish the house, and he expects it will be ready for use by May. "[The university and I] are excited that Dr. Wolman's house will be put to such good use," Schnydman said, "and it only happened because there was private support and university cooperation. "This is the formula I would like to see used to get similar facilities for the university's other student organizations. I am ready and willing to put in the same amount of time and effort to try to make that a reality, too."
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