It’s Finally Here! Dell JCC Opening Soon Welcomes Everyone
Member Experience Team welcomes members to new state-of-the-art fitness center at the Dell JCC. Credit: Jolie Estes
By Allison Teegardin
Originally built in 2000, the Jewish Community Association of Austin, which later became Shalom Austin, quickly established itself as not only the hub for Jewish living in Central Texas, but also a place where the entire community was welcome. Now 23 years later, as a result of generous donations from the community to the Shalom Austin Generations capital campaign, history is being made once again. Announced in February 2023, the new JCC is opening with a fresh look and a new name-the Dell Jewish Community Center. Shalom Austin Chief Executive Officer Rabbi Daniel A. Septimus said, “With each day, we get closer and closer to opening the doors to our new incredible JCC. We can’t wait to welcome you and your family to enjoy our new spaces and experiences.”
Set to open in early 2023, the new fitness center boasts 16,985 square feet of luxury health and wellness amenities such as a recovery room, mind-body studio, group exercise classes, stretch areas as well as cardio spaces equipped with premium Technogym machines. The original 1,508 square-foot group exercise facility will be transformed into a versatile space that will include spin classes, martial arts and Kim’s Gym. The original 4,180 square-foot fitness center will become home to Ballet Austin at the J.
This facility opening comes less than one year after the second phase of the Generations expansion and renovation project was completed, opening the Hurt Family Tennis Center and the Rochelle & Stanley Ferdman Family Aquatic Center which has the Lisa & Sandy Gottesman Pool, children’s activity pool, two 30-foot water slides and an outdoor snack bar. The first phase was completed in 2020 with the refresh of the Zeifman Family Early Childhood Program.
While eager for the completion of this phase of the project, members have still been very active with the tennis courts, pools and temporary fitness facility. In 2022, more than 10,000 visitors enjoyed the JCC. This number is expected to grow exponentially with the opening and leaders say they are ready for it. “This is the gathering place for the Jewish community and our friends and neighbors. We work and play side-by-side in a safe and inclusive environment. It is what makes the JCC unique,” Shalom Austin Chief Operating Officer Janet S. Elam said.
Beyond building a state-of-the-art fitness facility, the JCC was built with community in mind where people come for more than exercise. “Every aspect of the member experience was considered in the development of our new JCC. It has been carefully crafted to serve as a home for not only the Austin Jewish community, but the greater Austin community. In addition to the fitness offerings, the new facility will feature the Jennifer & David Kaufman Family Living Room area open to the community, the Stephanie & Jeff Miller Family Café, the Barbara Tocker Engagement and Education Center, and dynamic multi-purpose spaces for meetings and events. It will serve people of all ages and stages for generations,” Elie Allen, JCC member experience director said.
Elam says that what really sets the Dell JCC apart from others is the intentionality of creating welcoming spaces in all aspects of the design. Elam, who has been a JCC professional for 43 years and has worked with more than 100 JCCs in her roles at the JCC Association of North America, was excited to be intimately involved with the build out of the space. “Being able to take all I have learned throughout my entire career and apply that knowledge and experience to this new construction project has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” Elam said. “I know that when our members step into the space for the first time soon, they too will feel as energized as we all do knowing we are part of something so big in our community.”
With the goal of creating a welcoming, inviting, and inclusive space for the entire community, JCC Senior Health and Wellness Director Mark Pattis believes that goal has been accomplished. “We have developed a facility and programs that are multi-generational with so many different offerings. We have spaces where our members and the larger community can hang out, grab a bite to eat, answer emails, and gather with friends. We have enhanced our fitness footprint to be able to provide an impressive workout experience.” Even the details outside of the building were intentionally designed.
“We have the Deborah & Richard Rudy Playscape in our courtyard that were built for ages 2-5 and 5-12,” Elam said. “We could have fenced them in, but we intentionally didn’t. We wanted all families to feel at home here and know they are welcome. The playscapes as well as many other areas of the facility are open for everyone to enjoy. Community is our middle name!”
Another intentional design feature members will benefit from is the selection of more than 80 pieces of Technogym equipment in the fitness facility. Technogym is a premium brand of fitness equipment that is technology driven. “All our new cardio equipment will have personalized TVs, video-guided routines, the ability to connect to apps and much more,” Pattis said. “We will be the only JCC in North America with a Technogym showroom of this caliber.”
As a community center, while the designs, amenities and equipment are of utmost importance, the staff is yet another critical element which makes the JCC standout. “Our diverse, multi-generational community is one that you won’t find anywhere else in Austin, and our staff take pride in making sure all feel welcome, supported and know they are part of something bigger than themselves,” Allen said. “We want all members to engage with our friendly, trained staff as well as each other. We have staff for whom the member experience is their number one priority,” Elam added.
To learn more about joining and experiencing the JCC in Northwest Austin, visit: shalomautin.org/membership
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