It is part of a multi-prong campaign as the Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center prepares for a move that makes it unique in Bridgewater—it is raising the Bubble.
The Bubble, or pool dome, will be raised over the outdoor pool at the JCC to allow it to be used during the winter months.
“It will go up during the cooler weather, and come off in early May to be off for the entire summer until late September,” said Debbie Golden, marketing director for the JCC.
The Bubble will be raised Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m. when hundreds of volunteers will work together to raise it up.
About five years ago, the idea of the Bubble was brought to the leadership of the JCC, according to Laura Friedman, interim executive director. She said they researched the idea and visited other locations in Monmouth County and Manasquan that were already using them.
“We are trying to expand our program without building a new building, so we came up with the idea for the Bubble,” Golden said.
Raising this piece, Friedman said, will allow for the outdoor pool to be used during the summer, in addition to the indoor one they already have.
The Bubble is 100 feet by 100 feet, and is 32 feet high. It will cover the two sections of the outdoor pool—the main part with five lanes, and the smaller 3-foot section, which serves as the family pool.
“The Bubble covers the whole thing, and is connected to the building,” Friedman said. “There is a doorway that you walk to into the building.”
And aside from that, Friedman said, they have the indoor pool that is used year round.
Friedman said the separate kiddie pools will not be under the bubble.
Judy Gross, a member of the board of directors at the JCC, said this new project will serve to double the capacity of the pool.
“The pool has so much demand, and this will enable our members to have more pool time,” she said. “We will be able to offer more swim lessons, and there will be more capacity for the swim team to use the water.”
Friedman said the Bubble, which cost $700,000, is being paid for out of the JCC’s capital campaign, and is part of “Swim and Trim,” an ongoing process to make some changes in the offerings at the building, first by working on the swim part and then by expanding the fitness center space.
This Bubble was phase one, Friedman said.
“The second phase is expanding the fitness space within the building and adding a new improved locker area,” she said. “It’s an ongoing process to reenergize and go through the capital campaign.”
Gross said they are especially excited about increasing the fitness center.
“We’ll have more space, and we will be utilizing some space that is not utilized well now,” she said. “We will increase the different machines we have and the availability to members.”
Gross said they are raising funds for the project through donations, and as soon as they have enough in the capital budget, they will continue moving forward.
Friedman said there is real excitement about this new opportunity both for the JCC swim team and the members themselves. For the swim team, they have a place to continue practicing, and members have an opportunity to swim during the colder months.
“The swim team has been waiting for a long time to have a place to call their own,” she said. “The members are happy because we have doubled the swim space.”
“And we can increase the number of swim lessons given, which there is a great demand for,” she added. “We are doubling our pool capacity because we are allowing it to be year-round.”
For Gross, this is about improving the vision for the future.
“We want to meet the needs of our membership,” she said. “We are looking into the future and present, and we decided this was the way we had to help.”
And for the JCC, this move is exciting because it makes them the first to raise this kind of facility.
“We are kind of like trail blazers in the community and the JCC world,” Friedman said. “Only one other JCC in Charlotte has a Bubble, and another recreational facility has it.”
“So this is kind of a cool thing,” she added. “It started as what if we could do this one day, and now it is happening five years later.”