The Nonprofit Centers Network
1536 Wynkoop, Suite 103
Denver, CO 80202
Sarah Goldblatt, AIA
366 South Gaylord Street
Denver, Colorado 80209
Denver Shared Spaces
953 Decatur St., Box #4
Denver, CO 80204
4 The Nonprofit Centers Network
B’nai Havurah is at a crossroads in its history, and its facility is a reflection of this juncture. As part of a process that
B’nai Havurah began in 2014, The Nonprofit Centers Network (NCN) was retained in September 2015 to conduct a
Facility Feasibility Study. The goal of this engagement was to provide reliable information on several facility options
to inform the decision-making for a facility that best represents this vibrant community.
NCN’s team included Lara Jakubowski, Executive Director at NCN; Sarah Goldblatt, Architect; and Megan
Devenport, Community Facilitator from Denver Shared Spaces. The team undertook an analysis of how B’nai
Havurah uses space to fulfill its mission and how improvements to its current facility, or an alternative, might better
support its goals. The work of the B’nai Havurah Board and Facilities Task Force, including B’nai Blueprint, the 2014
survey, and 2015 memorandum, were foundational for NCN’s work.
Four facility options were analyzed: (1) renovation of the existing building at 6445 East Ohio Avenue, (2) construction
of a new building on the current East Ohio site, (3) acquisition of a new building at a new location, or (4) sharing
space with another religious community. These options provide B’nai Havurah with a rich range of features from
which to choose and each one has distinct advantages and disadvantages.
The methodology for this engagement included a listening phase and space analysis. During the listening phase,
multiple small and large group meetings were held with congregants to better understand their feelings and opinions
about B’nai Havurah and their priorities around space usage. Our findings included confirmation that the community
views itself as open, welcoming, supportive, and inclusive. The importance of the havurot as a strong, relational core
was noted, as well as the importance of transparent and well-communicated decision-making for any facility project.
Concerns included financial feasibility and the efficacy of B’nai Havurah’s decision-making processes.
The listening phase also generated input on B’nai Havurah’s space usage. Feedback from participants helped
establish baseline needs and wants for the space needs assessment. Similar to the 2014 survey, the findings
included an emphasis on improving aesthetics, needing a more functional layout, and having more space for lifecycle
events. In addition, there was agreement on the importance of creating a space that reflects B’nai Havurah’s values,
facilitates community and relationship building, and promotes sustainability.
An architectural “test fit” of the four options was completed based on these qualitative and quantitative inputs. Some
assumptions were made for each scenario with the goal of providing B’nai Havurah with realistic cost estimates. A
“baseline” approach was used to complete each scenario; additional features may always be added at an extra cost.
(1) Renovate Current East Ohio Avenue Building – This option is predicated on the removal of two currently
rented office spaces to allow a reconfiguration of the 10,508 square feet using the existing footprint of the building.
This enables better flow through more functional space, significantly improves aesthetics, and increases the capacity
for attendance at religious ceremonies as well as social events. This option would include a 20 month timeline at an
estimated total project cost of $1.9 million, and preserves B’nai Havurah’s equity in the property. Pros: high value
because it accomplishes most of the design objectives for the lowest cost, maintains the current location, and ease of
renovating a familiar space. Cons: parking meets code but could be insufficient if congregation grows, limited
outdoor space, and large events will require reconfiguration of social hall (moving tables and chairs).
(2) New Building at East Ohio Avenue – In this option, B’nai Havurah would demolish the existing building and
construct a 13,783 square foot two-story building in its place. This option provides B’nai Havurah with a completely
new facility, oriented to Ohio Avenue to better utilize the site area. The conceptual floorplan for this option allows
similar seating in the sanctuary and social hall as Option 1, but includes four additional classrooms, a teen lounge
and twice as much outdoor space. This option assumes a 25 month timeline at an estimated total project cost of $3.8
million. Pros: allows for additional space for growth and greater flexibility, maintains the current location, and enables
complete re-imagining of the site and building configuration. Cons: the organization cannot utilize the equity in the