The Situation: 

Monday, December 5, 2016, is a day that members of the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater New Haven will never forget. What started as a small fire in the center’s locker room and sauna turned into a multi-alarm fire that gutted the spa locker rooms and fitness areas, as well as damaging adjacent areas of the 25-year old community center. The fire caused more than 300 members to evacuate the facility, the injury of two firefighters and over $2 million in damages. 

As a result of the extensive water, fire, and smoke damage, the basic work to begin restoring the facility was not able to begin until March 2017, forcing the relocation of offices and activities that normally take place in the Jewish Community Center. The devastation from the fire didn’t only inhibit typical activities from taking place, but resulted in the center’s membership dropping by more than one-third. 

With the hopes of creating a new place where JCC members can gather in a healthy, aesthetically pleasing, and long-lasting environment, CEO Judith Alperin and the Jewish Federation and JCC boards sought to begin the renovation process as soon as they could. 

The team’s focus was to create a space that would support the main goal of the JCC expansion and the revitalization of the building as a community hub. The project officially began in summer 2017 when they brought in architect Svigals + Partners to design renovations and upgrades, followed by hiring the construction management firm, PAC Group in fall 2017.


The Challenges: 

  • Building for the Future: It was imperative that the project was built with the future in mind to provide for a healthy, aesthetically pleasing, and long lasting environment for years to come. The products used throughout the renovation process needed to be both durable and enduring. 
  • Tight Timeline: Since many of the offices and activities within the JCC had to relocate, the community center lost more than one-third of its members. Everyone tasked with renovating the facility worked as efficiently and effectively as possible so that the building could reopen. 
  • Building Remediation: As a result of the extensive fire damage throughout the 100,000-square-foot building, two miles of ducts needed cleaning. The lower level of the building had about six to eight inches of water, causing both a moisture and elevation issue, which resulted in the basketball court and aerobics studio being completely unusable. 


A Laticrete Solution: 

With two miles of ducts that needed cleaning, plus six to eight inches of water covering the facility’s locker rooms, basketball court, and aerobics studio, the light at the end of the tunnel seemed like a far reach. The first step was to replace the building’s flooring due to an unpleasant smell from the carpet. The new flooring needed to have antimicrobial properties to prevent this issue from happening in the future. Contractor Jason Hartmann, owner of Jason Roberts Services, used Spartacote Resinous Flooring with both the Spartacote Chip Clinical Plus and Quartz Clinical Plus to get the job done. 

Once on site to begin the floor remediation, Hartmann and his crew began prepping for the Laticrete products. First, Spartacote Moisture Vapor Barrier, a single-coat, 100% solids, liquid applied two-part epoxy coating was installed in the locker rooms and extended to corridors outside of the fire-damaged areas. This is specifically designed for controlling the moisture vapor emission rate from new or existing concrete slabs. To increase durability and longevity while offering a high-quality finish, Spartacote Blended Chip was selected prior to installing any other products. 

A clear coat of Spartacote Flex Pure Clinical Plus was applied to finish the application. This is a low VOC, low odor, fast curing, polyaspartic coating for hospitals, veterinary clinics and pharmaceutical facilities. This product is equipped with an antimicrobial additive designed to protect the coating from degradation caused by microbial growth. Also, commonly referred to as ‘flake,’ these Spartacote Chip System products are known to provide consistent color and texture to seamless resinous floors.

Accarpio All Floors installed two Laticrete products to level the concrete substrate of the gymnasium floor. After running into moisture and floor flatness issues throughout the gym, Supercap Moisture Vapor Control was used to help control the moisture vapor emission rate from the concrete slab. The Supercap System was used to install the SC500 product through its patented Mobile Blending Unit (MBU) in just two short days, saving time and allowing following trades to be back to work the next day. Supercap products are pumpable and pourable, low alkali cement-based, premium self-leveling underlayments based on a proprietary mineral binder system that was used to finish the interior concrete and level the uneven floor surfaces. 

“Retrofitting existing spaces always lends extra challenges and this project definitely had its twists and turns. However, I must say that through each hurdle, Laticrete found a solution that worked perfectly,” said Alperin.

Hydro Ban Waterproofing Membrane, 254 Platinum and Spectralock Pro Grout was used for the installation of the ceramic tile on the walls and ceilings in the locker room whirlpools and in the steam rooms by Svigals + Partners. 


Outcome: 

In March 2018, 15 months after the devastating fire damaged the Jewish Community Center, the community celebrated its grand opening. Community members got a chance to check out the rebuilt facility, which included a brand new café and refurbished fitness center. Today, membership has rebounded beyond the pre-fire levels.

“Laticrete was more than a vendor, they’ve been our partner through this whole process. Their guidance and expertise carried the day and we will forever be grateful,” Alperin added.