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Rabbi Simcha Dessler, education director of Hebrew Academy of Cleveland in Cleveland Heights, stands in the courtyard garden of the education complex on the Oakwood campus.

Hebrew Academy of Cleveland in Cleveland Heights will delay its Aug. 26 opening of the early childhood center by one week and will start its boys’ elementary school at the South Taylor Road campus because of construction delays at the Oakwood campus.

“While the construction crews are racing against the clock and the new building is almost ready, the fire and sprinkling systems will not be finished and ready for compliance for the first day of school,” Hebrew Academy education director Rabbi Simcha Dessler wrote in an Aug. 24 email to the Cleveland Jewish News.

“As such, early childhood opening was delayed about a week and, for the first month of school, the elementary school will meet at the Taylor Road campus occupying separate floors and on-site modular units.”

At the Taylor Road campus, the boys’ elementary school will share space with the girls’ elementary school during the transitional time.

The new complex was designed by Ronald Kluchin Architects Inc. of Cleveland. The contractor is Great Lakes Crushing LTD of Wickliffe.

With the new building, which both attaches to and dwarfs the clubhouse of the former Oakwood Country Club, the school gains 41 classrooms in a two-floor, state-of-the art school building with elevators, technology hardwired into classrooms and a gymnasium and auditorium that can be split or combined with capacity seating for up to 1,000.

A campaign goal of $32.5 million includes the purchase of the 92-acre former Oakwood Country Club on Warrensville Center Road in Cleveland heights and the repurposing of the clubhouse building, which will continue to house approximately 250 students. Hebrew Academy’s total enrollment for 2021-22 is expected to be 1,340 students.

“While this is a disappointment, safety is a priority and our focus is on the bigger picture and the enormous opportunities for staff and students in the long run,” Dessler wrote. “We are excited.”

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