BETH Weizmann Jewish Community Centre is using the closing of its premises due to general coronavirus guidelines to accelerate a landmark $2.5 million security upgrade, using state and federal government funding.
The centre’s chair Sam Tatarka said the exemption from COVID-19 restrictions for the building industry and the capacity to carry out work while the building is closed for business means the construction schedule has been speeded up and a completion target set for Rosh Hashanah.
Site work began before Pesach. Scaffolding has been erected, demolition of part of the façade has occurred and cables laid for the new security booth.
The project will see the retrofitting of the existing office building with blast-resistant materials, the installation of new security cameras and enhanced security bollards along the front of the building.
Additionally, the building will be outfitted with new and improved security software and hardware.
“The new façade will be clad in genuine Jerusalem stone as a permanent symbol of Beth Weizmann’s core commitment to the State of Israel and the Jewish people,” said Tatarka, who is immediate past president of Zionism Victoria.
Premier Daniel Andrews has made three pledges towards funding the project, each for $500,000. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $1 million grant to upgrade security for the more than 40 communal organisations that call Beth Weizmann home.
“It is truly gratifying to see this project commence construction and I am very proud of the hard work of all concerned in seeing that milestone reached,” Tatarka told The AJN.
“Each day our contractors are moving forward with remarkable speed and efficiency and despite the circumstances giving rise to it, the opportunity to do this work without disrupting our tenants or the community has been seized with both hands.
“When handed lemons, Beth Weizmann Jewish Community Centre is making lemonade.”