A Chabad educational center will soon rise in the Highland Lakes neighborhood in unincorporated Northeast Miami-Dade.
On Jan. 20, the Miami-Dade Northeast Community Council (Area 2) unanimously approved the project, which has been almost four years in the works. It will be located on 2601 NE 211th Ter.
Chabad Chayil currently operates in four houses and nine classrooms at Aventura Waterways K-8 Center, which is directly across the street. The houses will be torn down and the new Chabad will be built there.
It’s expected to break ground in the next five to seven months.
“This is going to allow us to expand our current programs,” Rabbi Moishe Kievman said, noting that the new center will allow them to host kids at their own location and will have the capacity for a new pre-K, something the Chabad hasn’t offered before.
The new building will still host Chabad Chayil’s current after-school care programs, along with their long-established children and teen programs. It is also slated to include 16 classrooms, one adult and one children’s library, an indoor playground, a social hall and a rooftop park. The $8 million project will be funded through anchor donors.
Kievman says he is certain “the new building will transform the community into a hub of Judaic culture and education.”
“With over 30,000 square feet of indoor space and an 8,000-square-foot rooftop park, the building will allow us to expand our current programming and services to include a preschool and a whole line-up of extracurricular activities,” Kievman said, along with his wife Layah, who will be running the Chabad with him.
Dozens of Chabad Chayil supporters shared how the center has already impacted their lives.
“My kids have benefited tremendously from Chabad’s after-school program,” parent Mazal Yehezkelly said. “The quality of the program serves as a model as to how schools can impart lessons and values to students.”
Others said that neighborhood beautification and an improvement in school dismissal traffic patterns are two big reasons to approve the zoning change.
“The educational center associated with Chabad Chayil will continue to allow them to provide invaluable service to the youth of our community,” said Lenny Feldman, Sky Lake-Highland Lakes Area Homeowners Association president.
Chabad Chayil currently services around 450 kids from kindergarten through high school.
“It’s been a lot of hard work, a lot of sweat,” Kievman said. “It’s going to beautify the area, make it a safer area. It’s going to light up the area and be a gem for the community.”