Chicago’s Lubavitch Girls’ High School has purchased a new building that will serve as a dormitory, with eight private apartments, an enclosed courtyard and common commercial areas which will house meals, programs, and other group activities.
Situated almost directly across the street from, Chicago’s Lubavitch Girls’ High School, with eight private apartments, an enclosed courtyard and common commercial areas, the building seemed to be a perfect dorm facility for the school’s large out-of-town student body.
But it was not for sale. And if it would go up for sale, the price would likely be prohibitive.
This month, the impossible happened, and LGHS purchased the property for $1.4 million.
“The dorm is a huge part of an out-of-towner’s school experience,” says dean Rabbi Boruch Hertz, “For years we have been looking forward to building a purpose-built dorm that suits our needs. Baruch Hashem, until that becomes a reality, this building already fills many of our requirements and then some.”
The commercial space on the ground floor of the building will house meals, programs, and other group activities, which will be open to both dormies and in-town students. It will also contain dedicated study spaces, a book-and-game library and more.
Until now, the school has been operating as many as four dormitories scattered over several blocks. “One large facility will make Shabbos meals, programs, and even dinner a much more pleasant experience for our students,” says administrator Rabbi Shua Greenspan. “This will help streamline our operations and create a more positive and spacious feeling for the students”.
“Having everyone in one place will be a huge boon for our dormies,” says lead dorm mother Mrs. Faigy Schechter, who manages the dorm along with dorm mother, Mrs. Dena Walters. “This building provides the right mix of common areas, where everyone can socialize and mingle, as well as private apartments, where they can withdraw and limit their company to their apartment mates.”
She also points out to the upgraded living conditions that the facility will have for dorm counselors, who will now have their own apartments. The dorm counselor apartments have a living area, where students can hang out, as well as a private part with its own bath, shower, kitchen, and living space.
Rabbi Hertz explains that the central location will allow the school to provide enhanced extracurricular experiences for the entire student body, both out-of-towners and in-towners. “The administration is excited about the many possibilities this will open up for all of our students,” he explains, “furthering our vision for bringing together all students for programs, activities, and more.”
While the building is in good condition, the school expects to install additional bathrooms and showers, security systems, etc., and perform other upgrades, which will bring the cost of the project closer to $2 million.
The facility is easily accessible via Whipple Street, a quiet, residential block with many Jewish families. The short walk across the street to the school building will be especially appreciated by students who have been living in the further dorms, which are a 10-minute walk away, often through snow and other inclement weather conditions.
The purchase was facilitated in part by LGHS parent and local investor, Rabbi Gideon Gratsiani.
“The dorm has been a home away from home for our daughter and her friends,” says Rabbi Chaim Lazaroff, shliach to Houston, Texas. “Our Houston community has had many girls go to Chicago for high school, and we are excited to see how the staff will make dorm life even more enriching than it has been until now.”