Chabad Jewish Center of Solon will be adding an 11,000-square-foot addition as well as additional parking.
Solon City Council approved the expansion plan Jan. 19 for Solon at 5570 Harper Road.
Ron Kluchin Architects designed the addition and helped Solon Chabad through the approval process, with the hopes to break ground in fall 2021 and finishing by the High Holy Days in 2022.
Along with the additional space and parking, there will be pole lights added to the property to be used during special events. Landscape buffering will also be added and maintained to screen the view of the parking lot and building from Cannon Road and nearby residential properties.
“Solon Chabad approached me and asked if I was interested in designing their building and I said yes,” he said. “I am also working on the new Hebrew Academy project and Yeshiva Derech Hatorah, both in Cleveland Heights. That is how I got (Solon Chabad). It is a new era for us, designing in education, but it is exciting.”
The addition is mostly addressing the need for more space when it comes to lifecycle events, like b’nai mitzvah, larger services during the High Holy Days and after-services kiddushim. Previously, those events were held in the basement of the center, said Rabbi Zushe Greenberg, spiritual leader of Solon Chabad.
“As the community grew, we knew we needed a more comfortable space,” he said. “It is another step for our community to make it more accessible and for them to have the full experience. We always struggle to fit everyone in the space we have during parties and events. So, this way, we will have a normal, designated space.”
Greenberg said there will be an outdoor space between the buildings that can be used for parties and services, akin to a patio. This will help Solon Chabad continue to be COVID-19 cognizant during the pandemic, because it is suggested to hold gatherings outside when possible, he said.
The addition will give Solon Chabad the ability to grow within the Solon community, Greenberg said, which wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Solon Mayor Eddy Kraus and the city’s administration.
“The community is growing, thank G-d, so this will make it a lot easier to accommodate everyone,” Greenberg said. “I was sent here by the Lubavitcher Rebbe almost 30 years ago. The goal was to touch every Jew and make Jews more comfortable with their Judaism, and share with them the Jewish experiences. This addition will give us more opportunities to reach more people.”
Kraus said the Solon community is lucky to have such a robust religious community and he loves each religious institution for the “life, vitality and how they connect residents to their faith.”
“Since the Chabad built their facility about 16 years ago, it has grown so much,” Kraus said. “So many residents use the center for services, preschool, Hebrew school and day camp. So, the fact they’ve expanded and grown their programming to now include a community center like this is wonderful. Religious diversity in a community brings us all together and makes communities more inclusive and tolerant. So, this is great for Chabad and the people who go there, but it is equally wonderful for the community.”