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JCC campus gears up for final push
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JCC campus gears up for final push

JCC of Princeton Mercer Bucks president Donald Leibowitz says the new community campus will provide “a centralized location that everyone can feel is theirs.”
JCC of Princeton Mercer Bucks president Donald Leibowitz says the new community campus will provide “a centralized location that everyone can feel is theirs.”

Close to reaching their fund-raising goals, officials involved with the building of the proposed Jewish Community Campus of Princeton Mercer Bucks are looking to the community for the final push.

Approximately $19.5 million in funds has been committed to date, and officials have obtained most of the governmental permits necessary for construction to begin, officials said.

Those involved with the project say another $1.25 million is needed to start the actual construction.

The West Windsor property will house the Betty and Milton Katz JCC, United Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks, Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County, and Jewish Community Foundation of Princeton Mercer Bucks.

“We’re on the verge of success,” said JCC president Donald Leibowitz. The new campus “provides an address for the Jewish community…, a centralized location that everyone can feel is theirs.”

To help complete the campaign, organizers are offering incentives for those who join the JCC of Princeton Mercer Bucks — which will bear its new name when the campus opens — by the end of the year (see sidebar).

The JCC is also offering a 10 percent discount on all membership categories for members of area synagogues.

“The leadership of the campus and the JCC and the federation has done everything they need to do to get us to this point,” said Drew Staffenberg, executive director of the Jewish Community Campus Development Council, which is managing the project.

“It’s up to the community” to help with the last five-10 percent of fund-raising efforts, which, he said, is doable if donors commit $1 a day over five years.

With lower construction costs for commodities such as steel, copper, and PVC, “we can probably build more for less,” Staffenberg said. “We will be able to reduce our costs by about $1 million if we can begin construction within the next 90 days or so.”

Leibowitz, a West Windsor resident, will receive the Harry S. Feller award at the annual meeting of the New Jersey Federation of YMHAs and YWHAs on Nov. 23.

As the JCC president, he helped renew relations between the JCC’s own day camp and the overnight NJ Y Camps. “We want to encourage kids to take advantage of [camping opportunities] any way we can,” said Leibowitz, who also served as president of the PMB federation and of Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction.

Looking ahead, Leibowitz said that the campus’ completion will have a positive impact on all institutions, assisting the “federation’s role in community building and fund-raising.”

“It’s all about bringing our local Jewish community together,” he said. “Here’s a way to demonstrate that message for people very clearly.”

For more information on the proposed facility, JCC membership, or giving opportunities, visit www.jccampus.org.

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