July 12, 2016

Synagogue Buys Land to Build New Facility

By Ron Maxey
– The Commercial Appeal –

Beth Shalom Synagogue has purchased property in eastern Shelby County adjacent to the new Solomon Schecter Day School campus and plans to relocate from its longtime East Memphis site at 482 S. Mendenhall.

Steve Leib, president of Beth Shalom, said a goal hasn’t yet been set for a capital campaign to fund the facility. He said he hopes to be ready to break ground in 2 to 2½ years. Leib said the location will allows for growth. The current property, at the corner of Mendenhall and Sanderlin just north of Poplar, is about 30 years old.

The property purchased by Beth Shalom last week is at the southeast corner of Humphreys Boulevard and Kirby Parkway. It is adjacent to the planned campus of Solomon Schecter Day School, which breaks ground Nov. 10 for its new facility.

Solomon Schecter officials had noted previously that the 7.3-acre parcel where the school is locating contained space for a synagogue. Though currently housed at Beth Shalom and adjacent to the new Beth Shalom site, the school is a separate entity from the synagogue. The school also is moving to allow for expansion. Plans call for a 30,000-square-foot facility accommodating up to 250 students in grades 1-8.

Solomon Schecter is a chain of Jewish day schools with 76 schools nationwide. The schools offer a mix of general curriculum and Judaic education. Deborah Pelz, a founder of the school, said $2.6 million has been raised in the $3.2 capital campaign to fund the project. Pelz said construction is expected to be completed in time for classes to begin at the new campus next fall.

The ground breaking will include a "Milestone Mile" parade down Humphreys Boulevard, beginning at 12:30 p.m., with ground breaking at 1:15 p.m. The property is part of the Humphreys Boulevard Planned Development.