Growing with the community

Associated: The three-story addition to the Jewish federation's headquarters reflects its expanded presence in Central Maryland.

The Urban Landscape

June 01, 2000|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN STAFF

LIKE MANY NONPROFIT organizations in Central Maryland, The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore relies on volunteers to support the work of its paid staff.

But the organization didn't have sufficient room to welcome and accommodate its many affiliates, "lay leaders" and visitors until this spring, when it completed a $3.5 million expansion and renovation of its 20-year-old headquarters at 101 W. Mount Royal Ave., called the Associated Krieger Building.

The three-story, 13,500-square-foot addition contains conference rooms, offices and other meeting spaces that are booked from morning to night by committees and subcommittees of The Associated or others. There's also an expanded kosher kitchen so that meals can be served on the premises.

In many ways, planners say, the expanded building reflects the organization's expanded presence in Central Maryland.

"This is really a community center," said Lee Coplan of Hord Coplan Macht, architect for the project. "The Associated encourages people to use it for meetings, whether they're part of the staff or from local community groups. Before, it was a scheduling nightmare, with the staff wanting to have meetings and community groups wanting to have meetings. Now, there's room for everyone. The staff doesn't have to schedule its meetings around other groups."

In the original building, "there was no place to greet visitors. Most of the space was private offices," said Robert A. Manekin, chairman of The Associated's building committee. "Now, you can walk into a lobby and learn about the mission of the organization. The building positions The Associated to operate differently and interact with the community -- both Jewish and non-Jewish -- in a more positive way. The public spaces and meeting spaces in the building were significantly increased, in number and in size."

Founded in 1920 from the merger of the Federated Jewish Charities and United Hebrew Charities, The Associated is a collection of 35 local, national and overseas agencies. The staff is in the midst of a $28 million fund-raising campaign, with about 70 percent of the money expected to stay in the Baltimore area and 30 percent going overseas. There are more than 1,000 volunteers.

As the federation grew, the building needed to grow, said Marc B. Terrill, executive vice president.

"We're very fortunate," Terrill said. "Some organizations are starved for volunteer leadership. We're adding more and more to our ranks and embracing our volunteer leaders. This facility gives us more of an asset in trying to engage them. We're very excited about it."

The building, across from the Lyric Opera House, has become "a central address for much of the Jewish community, and we wanted to continue to foster that notion" with the addition, said Larry Ziffer, vice president of community development. It also works well for the permanent staff of 80, he said.

"As a manager, I'm looking at the morale, the esprit de corps," he said. "By giving us a more professional working environment, it's going to cause everybody to be more efficient."

Clad in glass and fiber-reinforced concrete panels, the addition provides a new entry on the west side of the property. From Mount Royal Avenue, observers can distinguish the addition from the four-story original building because the walls of the addition are lighter in color than the brown brick cladding on the original.

Inside, each level of the original building was substantially renovated along with construction of the addition, and it can be difficult to tell where one stops and the other begins. To foster collegiality, the architects put more people in open-office work spaces and fewer in private offices.

On the fourth level, the building contains a resource center for private foundations and philanthropic groups. Organizations with offices there include the Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund, the Jack Pearlstone Institute for Living Judaism, and the Aaron and Lillie Straus Foundation.

The primary donor to the building campaign was the Zanvyl and Isabelle Krieger Fund. Also contributing for the addition were the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and several other families or funds.

Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. was the builder, Rolf H. Haarstad was the designer and Kathleen Lechleiter was project architect for Hord Coplan Macht.

A dedication ceremony for the Associated Krieger Building will be held at 3 p.m. June 13.

Besides accommodating the growth of The Associated, the expanded headquarters can be seen as a "vote for the future of the city," Manekin said.

"It solidifies the Mount Royal area as a desirable location for nonprofit organizations," he said. "Not only The Associated, but the University of Baltimore, Maryland Institute, the Lyric, the Meyerhoff. There's a good critical mass in the area.

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