Children, teachers, parents and supporters of Miami Beach's Lehrman Community Day School wore hard hats on Wednesday, showing that their school will be a construction area for the next three years.
For the first time since Rabbi Irving Lehrman founded the school in 1960, the schools is embarking on a major renovation and building campaign. The campaign is financed by private donors.
The construction work started Wednesday in the atrium of the school building, 727 77th St. The lobby will be renovated, and two floors will be added for classrooms and offices.
The sounds of drilling and hammering thundered trough the halls as work commenced. In the first hours, children were holding their ears. But everyone seemed happy that the work was underway.
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“It's exiting to break ground on chapter one of our campaign,” said Jodi Bruce, Lehrman’s head of school. She gave a short speech before shoveling some dirt outside the school door to symbolize the beginning of the project.
Three families have taken the lead in supporting the project. The Ansin Foundation, Kim and Eric Mendelson and Robert and Michelle Diener contributed a total of $1 million.
“Jewish education is the key to Jewish continuity,” Bruce said. “You must know that your gift will extend way beyond our doors.”
The benefactors were represented by their children at the ceremony.
After the first round of renovation is finished next year, the school is planning a second, more ambitious phase that is viewed as a two- to three-year project.
The number of students at Lehrman Day has increased from 270 in 2010 to 440 in this year. The schools said it needs more classrooms, a new gym, an auditorium and an updating of the kitchen and the cafeteria.
The entire cost of the two phases of work will be about $9 ,million, which the school hope to raise from private donations.