HIWP Renovation FAQ







What are the goals for the renovation?

This renovation is an opportunity to enhance the spiritual quality of our spaces, while at the same time expanding capacity and improving the operation and logistics of our building for the next generation.


What are some highlights of the conceptual plan?

  • New east-facing sanctuary
  • Additional 150 seats (350 seats total, or a 75% increase) with ability to flex to up to 400 seats.
  • Renovated social hall and brand new, modern kitchen
  • New, larger and more prominent entrance on Rutherford Avenue and a substantially wider light-filled, lobby/entrance way inside the Rutherford entrance.
  • Shabbat elevator
  • Renovated lower level


Who is the architect?

Peter Gisolfi Associates (PGA)

Among many other relevant engagements, they designed the renovated sanctuary at Temple Beth Abraham in Tarrytown.  http://www.petergisolfiassociates.com/


How much will it cost?

Preliminary estimates based on our early drawings indicate a total project cost of $4 -$5 million dollars including contingencies.


What does the cost include?  What level of finish is included in the pricing?

These cost estimates include allowances for new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing; a new sanctuary, new social hall, and new kitchen; and a renovated lower level.  These estimates also include allowances for architects and engineers, as well as legal fees necessary to secure approvals from the City of White Plains.


The estimate also includes a mid-range allowance for new furniture and fixtures (e.g. a new aron kodesh, new pews, new lighting fixtures, etc.)


What kind of considerations will be made for green/sustainable construction and operations?

Construction materials and mechanical systems have not been chosen yet, but the Renovation Steering Committee and PGA are committed to evaluating the feasibility of environmentally sustainable materials.  An environmental/sustainable working group comprised of HIWP congregants is in place to help us analyze the use of sustainable products and energy efficient systems..


Where would Strollers go?

There will be a space for strollers in the lower level, accessible from a renovated entrance off the playground.



What resources will we pursue to pay for the renovation?

  • ~$500,000 in the existing Capital Fund (subject to Board approval)
  • ~$500,000 bank loan (subject to Board approval)
  • $4,000,000 from individual pledges
  • Public grants will also be explored, where available (e.g. energy, security).


Will there be a building fund or assessment to complete the renovation funding?

Yes, to be determined in conjunction with our discussions with banks regarding the use of a mortgage, and subject to approval by the Board.


How long will members be able to pay off the pledged amount?

Pledges are expected to be paid off over the course of a maximum of 5 years.


Who is leading the Capital Campaign?

Marc Guthartz and Keith Reich have agreed to serve as fundraising campaign chairs for the renovation.


How will the fundraising take place?

Fundraising has already begun and we have raised a significant amount of money towards our goal.  Our goal is to have 100% member participation in this campaign and we count on the participation of every member to reach our goal.  Solicitations will continue into 2016.  If you would like to meet with members of the fundraising team and you have not been contacted, please get in touch with Marc Guthartz or Keith Reich or call the synagogue office.



What are the next steps?

  • The Renovation Steering Committee will meet with PGA to determine next steps in the design process, and will make a proposal to the Board.
  • Solicitations will continue into 2016.
  • Working groups will meet over the next several months on a variety of topics, including but not limited to:  kitchen, sanctuary, mikveh, sustainability, donor recognition, youth, interior design and finishes, and bank financing.
  • Additional congregation-wide forums will be scheduled to review future and more detailed versions of the plan
  • Congregants are encouraged to contact members of the Renovation Steering Committee or members of the Board with questions, comments, or concerns


When will construction start?

Construction will begin once construction and engineering plans have been finalized, a contractor has been hired, and sufficient funds have been secured. This is expected to be August of 2017 at the earliest.


Who is on the Renovation Committee?

Todd Stern is the chairperson/Project Manager for the project and committee. Members are Rabbi Marder, Bernard Adler, Stephen Apple, Larry Fish, Lisa Gilbert, Beth Hurvitz, Paul Orentlicher, Keith Reich, Dean Ungar, Deborah Weinberger, Michael Weintraub, Wendy Leibowitz, and Diane Werner.


How do I provide input during the planning process?

  • There will be many opportunities to provide input through participation in one of the many working groups.  If you would like to participate in a working group please contact Todd Stern.
  • In addition to the working groups, there will be other congregational forums to review future versions of the renovation plan
  • Finally, members of the Board and Renovation Steering Committee are always interested in hearing from you.


What are the working Working Groups and who are the primary contacts?


What happens during the construction? What about smachot?

Congregational life will of course continue during construction. We will find ways to continue davening together on weekdays and Shabbat, and will work hard to craft solutions with congregants to celebrate life cycle events together.  There will, however,  be challenges involving planning and compromise.  Once the plans become more detailed, the Renovation Steering Committee will work with our chosen contractor to craft a plan for how to meet the needs of our congregants during construction.

What if I make a pledge and then have difficulty fulfilling it?

Predicting the future can be difficult and many times people are reluctant to take on multi-year charitable commitments, but we need pledges in good faith to secure financing to achieve our goals.  Of course, if a congregant finds it impossible to fulfill their pledge, we will work with them.  This is a community effort of a caring community and we will all act accordingly.