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Building and Development (updated August 1998)

 

The Swimming Pool: A New Toddlers' Pool and other improvements

Todpool.jpg (91390 bytes)A beautiful new toddlers' pool has been added, and other improvements made, to the swimming pool area.  Besides making the experience of guests to the pool more pleasurable and secure, these improvements were also required by licencing laws.  The construction of the Toddlers' pool was made possible by a generous contribution by Mr. and Mrs. Fraenkel of Britain.

 

Entrance and Guest House Area

We are planning to make improvements soon to the entrance and the guest house areas. These will include leveling of the entrance area, widening the road, extending and paving the parking area and landscaping. The parking area at the village entrance serves, the guest house, the swimming pool, and the future hall (see below). In addition, the guest house parking (north of the dining hall) will be adjusted topographically, extended and paved. Terraces and support walls will be constructed where needed. The cost of the project is estimated at $45,570. Funding for the project will be provided by the American Friend of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam.

Community Center

The community center project, as it was originally planned, ran into difficulties due to higher than anticipated costs (a wide difference between the architect?s estimate and quotations received from the tender), and the failure to receive matching funds from the State. As a result, we sought out alternatives. The main intended facilities of the Community Center were the large auditorium and provision for municipal offices. As an alternative to the auditorium, we have discovered that it is possible to build a permanent 300 Square meter building with a concrete floor, a pagoda-shaped ceiling, and walls constructed of hardened vinyl. Such structures are used in various places in Israel for public events, weddings, etc., and have proved their viability in our climactic conditions. The building will also be much cheaper to construct than a conventional auditorium. The cost of the entire building, including infrastructure, toilets, heating, air-conditioning, landscaping and every thing else will be in the region of $200,000. With the permission of Mr. Goodwin and the donors who put up the funds for the original community center, we are proceeding with the plan.

One of the early difficulties we ran into was that the intended location of the auditorium ? between the swimming pool and the basketball court ? is a site of archeological significance, containing the foundations of houses from the Byzantine period. As with all archeological sites in Israel, building necessitates a permit by the Bureau of Antiquities. The Bureau required us to do an archeological dig, at our expense, in order to document the findings, before we would be allowed to build. Fortunately we were able to reduce costs (to about NIS 20,000) by having our resident archeologist, Gideon Suleimani, oversee the excavation. He worked with a team of laborors from July 26 ? 30, and uncovered the foundations of houses belonging to a Byzantine era farm. Now that the remains have been thoroughly photographed and documented, and it has been proven that nothing of value is to be found there, they may be re-buried or destroyed. Apart from the mentioned foundations, only a few pottery shards were discovered and collected.

New Building for Public Relations Office

One wing of the original community center plan was intended to house the village offices, including the public relations office. It has now been decided that money remaining from the original funding will be used to build new quarters for the PR office. For this purpose, it has been decided to use the lower floor of the shell constructed near the swimming pool and originally intended as a building for dressing rooms, showers, etc. These functions have been provisionally provided by a smaller prefabricated building to the south of the pool. The shell, which has remained empty for the last 8 years, will provide excellent space for a PR office, and a respectable place to receive small groups, VIP?s etc. It should be noted that the cost of completing it for this purpose is much less than would be the cost of completing the building for its original purpose, due to the relatively high expense of plumbing work, ceramics, etc. Plans for the new PR office space are currently being drawn up by an architect. The original plans also call for a pool ? level cafeteria above the lower floor of the building. This was never constructed. In view of the changes introduced since the original plan, we will need to review the advisability of adopting it.


(Projects included in report of January 1998)

The extensive funds required for infrastructure and development have always provided a challenge to our small community, because there is a question of where the money will come from: State funding has rarely been forthcoming, the residents are too few to bear the burden, and donors often shy away from mundane items like sewage systems and roads. But despite these difficulties, we can report a number of successes over the last year?

Volunteer Accommodation: A generous bequest keeps our volunteers dry

Our volunteers live in two prefabricated structures given to us years ago in a used condition by one of the kibbutz movements. Thanks to a generous bequest of $18,000 under the Will of the late Mrs. Simone Reguin of Switzerland, we were able to replace the most dilapidated of these units. The new unit will house four volunteers without the discomfort of a leaky roof and drafty walls. We are especially grateful to Mrs. Reguin's family, Mr. and Mrs. Olivier and Catherine Murset, for so speedily expediting the transfer and for arranging for tax exemption to apply to this gift.

Meanwhile, a more permanent solution to the volunteer housing is being planned, with the help of the German Friends of NS/WAS. The new plans call for a 100 square meter volunteer house in a new location.

New Sewage System

With the assistance of Rotary International, we were able to construct a new sewage system (please see the Rotary article).

A New Sports Court

With the generous help of the Goodwin Family, we have constructed a much needed sports court. The handsome new court is of professional standard, with state-of-the-art equipment. It will serve the school for sports classes in basketball, volleyball, tennis and other games, provide the participants in the SFP with recreational opportunities, and serve the members of the community in general.

Swimming Pool

The opening of the Swimming pool was reported in the last newsletter. During the summer months, the pool was successfully operated for its first complete season, following the correction of certain structural problems that came to light in the previous year. The pool, with its surrounding lawn and wonderful vantage point, is perhaps the most attractive area of the village. However, a number of adjustments and additions were required in order to meet licensing requirements for use as a public swimming pool. These include the completion of the permanent service building (including showers, toilets, etc.), construction of a toddlers' pool, and construction of a safety fence around the pool. Beyond these basics, additional plans include heating, landscaping and completion of an exercise room.


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