Hillel of San Diego to Break Ground on New Leed Certified Building for Jewish Students at SDSU

San Diego – Hillel of San Diego, a local non-profit organization that provides opportunities for college students to participate in Jewish community, will break ground on Sunday, April 28, 2013 on a new LEED certified building to serve as the center for Jewish life at San Diego State University (SDSU). The Melvin Garb Hillel Center, which will open in early 2014, will be the first modern Hillel facility in San Diego.

The lead gift of $2.5 million was generously donated by the Melvin Garb Foundation, which supports Jewish causes throughout San Diego County. The Garb Foundation, along with 50 other individuals and foundations, have contributed more than $7 million toward the $9 million campaign so far. Opportunities are still available to dedicate spaces in the building.

“This project is an important investment in the community,” said Stephen Cohen, President of the Melvin Garb Foundation. “It will ensure that Jewish students at SDSU will have a place to thrive and connect with their Jewish heritage for decades to come.”

“This is an exciting moment for the San Diego Jewish community,” said Herb Solomon, an alumnus of SDSU, past president and longtime member of the board of directors of Hillel of San Diego. Solomon has led the effort to raise more than $7 million to date to build the new center.  “It is a testament to the strength of Hillel’s lay leadership, professional staff, students and the San Diego Jewish community that Hillel at SDSU has thrived during the past 30 years despite its inadequate facilities. The new center will provide a permanent space and a vital hub for Jewish students at SDSU - a place in which they can take enormous pride.”

Hillel at SDSU has endured tired, cramped, and dilapidated quarters for decades - most recently a 1,700 square-foot house built in the 1950s that leaked in the rain.

“It has been a long-held dream for many SDSU alumni and community leaders to build a new home for Hillel,” said Jackie Trolley, Hillel’s Campus Director at SDSU. Tolley has spent the past 34 years in her role leading the transformation of Hillel at SDSU into a vibrant organization. “A modern facility has been our missing piece. It’s going to make an enormous difference in programming and activities for the students.”

Finding available space for Hillel’s activities on the crowded SDSU campus is increasingly challenging. Hillel’s new facility, located just a short walk from the center of campus in the redeveloped Lindo Paseo corridor, will offer plenty of flexible space to accommodate a wide variety of activities.

The prominent architectural firm, MW Steele Group Inc. designed the 10,500 square-foot, state-of-the-art building with large modern meeting rooms, coffee bar, game area, upscale outdoor space, and a banquet room for special events served by a full kosher kitchen.
The project’s environmental design complies with the City’s Sustainable Building policy and has been designed to achieve LEED Silver certification. The project incorporates renewable energy in the form of solar photovoltaic panels on the roof, which will supply more than thirty percent of the on-site energy demands.

Hillel of San Diego, accredited by Hillel: the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, serves an estimated 5,000 Jewish undergraduate and graduate students at institutions of higher education across San Diego County. Students from all backgrounds are invited to participate in Jewish life on campus.  Social, cultural, educational, and community service programs provide opportunities for students to build relationships with each other and develop Jewish community. For more information, visit www.hillelsd.org.