Mon – Fri: 8:30 – 4:00
Closed from 12–1pm

(609) 883-2900 
2 Jake Garzio Drive
Ewing, NJ 08628

ESCC Construction Updates

plans by DIGGroupArchitecture

On September 30, 2022, the Ewing Senior and Community Center (ESCC) on 999 Lower Ferry Road suffered significant damage from a five-alarm fire.  The blaze destroyed the back half of the building including the gym, and part of the roof collapsed making it unusable.  The site has been closed ever since. 

The loss of the center, which served as a gathering spot and hub for public programming for the community, for seniors, community groups, summer youth programs, sports, and so much more has left a gaping hole in our community activities and programming.  Mayor Steinmann has vowed, since we must rebuild, to rebuild better - to rebuild a center that will meet the community’s needs for the future, for years to come.

Site History

The site was originally purchased by the Jewish community of Trenton in 1954 and known as the Trenton Jewish Community Center.  It is known for the signature architecture of Louis I. Kahn, one of America’s most influential architects of the twentieth century and the Bath House and Day Camp Pavilions were listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

The Trenton Bath House began operation in 1955 and programs were run through around 2006. However, use of the facility began to decline in the 1990s and so too did the physical condition of the facility. Public funds were eventually raised to preserve the Bath House. In 2005, the JCC decided to sell the property and move to West Windsor.

Most of the property was then purchased by Mercer County with funds from its Open Space Preservation Trust in 2007. Ownership of the property was transferred to Ewing Township, with conservation and historic preservation easements, protecting the property from development and maintaining the historic integrity of the structures. Ewing Township received a matching grant in 2009, in the amount of $750,000, from the New Jersey Historic Trust for restoration of the Bath House and Day Camp Pavilions and the Township and Mercer County partnered to restore the structures.

The Bath House was restored by 2011. This included reconstruction of two of the Day Camp Pavilions, and a new snack bar and plaza. The site was also rehabilitated to current accessibility standards.  In 2012 a new community green and parking area was built, in accordance with Kahn’s original intention and provided a gathering point for community functions.


 In the spring of 2023, the firm of DIGroupArchitecture was retained as the Architect of Record for the restoration project.  Several public meetings have since been held to solicit input from members of the community about the amenities they would like to see included in a new upgraded and expanded facility.  An additional meeting was held in November of 2023 to update the community on the status of the plans.    


The Plan

The former ESCC was a one-story building approximately 33,000 square feet in size.  It  was situated on a small parcel contained within the 28-acre Green Acres Park.  It housed administration offices, a large community room, meeting rooms, a gym and other exercise and fitness facilities, rooms for education and administration of public programs, such as Affordable Housing, and a Small Business Development Center.

To pay homage and provide continuity to the overall site, the new facility will have features in the entry areas designed to imitate the distinctive architecture pyramidal pitched roofs of the Kahn Bath Houses.  It will be 2 stories tall with an elevator at each end of the building for easy access to the second floor.  The building will be composed of administrative offices, senior and gathering facilities, fitness and recreation, and educational facilities, each in its own section of the building. 

Community and Gathering

A large gathering space/grand entrance will welcome visitors to the site with administrative offices and community rooms nearby as well as an outdoor patio.  A kitchen and area for a Café will both be housed in this central gathering area.  Community spaces will occupy parts of both floors and will include multipurpose rooms for meetings and gatherings, and arts and crafts space, a Board room for meetings, and lounge area.  Multiple public meeting rooms will offer AV systems for meeting enhancement.  Specialty features include: a black box theater, sound studio, as well as plenty of storage space and more.

Seniors

Seniors will enter the building using their own entrance conveniently located closest to the parking lot and on the lower floor.  The Senior Administrative Programming office will provide ready support for programs and activities, all located within the Senior quadrant.  Facilities will include a dedicated senior exercise room, multipurpose room, and club room.  Additional rooms for arts and crafts, computer use and education, and a pool hall with five pool tables for our Pool Sharks will all offer opportunities for socializing, continuing education, and play within the Senior wing.

Fitness and Recreation

The Fitness/Recreation quadrant occupies areas on both floors of the facility.  It includes a gym and a half so the half gym can be used for other purposes while a game is in progress.  For dedicated walkers, a walking track will encircle the perimeter of the gym on the second floor offering the opportunity for year-round exercise regardless of weather conditions.  The Center will also offer a weight room, general exercise room, and a martial arts/dance room, supported by men’s and women’s locker rooms and showers.

Education

Educational facilities, offices, classrooms, a music room, a small kitchen, and a maker space will fill the final quadrant in the back half on the senior end and above on the second floor. 

Sustainability

We are also proud to highlight the sustainable features that are included in our new center that will provide environmental and cost-saving benefits for years to come.  They include:

  • A unique green roof that will be beautiful, low maintenance, and eco-friendly. Green roofs provide environmental benefits such as sound insulation; temperature regulation - saving money on heat and air conditioning costs; improving air quality; containing rainwater runoff, helping to prevent localized flooding; and are great for promoting biodiversity. They also add to the lifespan of a roof by protecting it from UV rays and acidic rain.
  • Of course, energy efficient LED lighting will be installed throughout the building, as well as high-performance, long-term impact windows that block UV rays and maximize insulation.
  • Water runoff on the site will be managed in part by the green roof, and with the installation of rain gardens along the perimeter of the building to collect rainwater from the roof, pavement, parking lot, or waterlogged grass, and hold it until it can slowly percolate into the soil, preventing runoff from reaching local waterways. These will be planted with beautiful New Jersey native plants with deep root systems that will help to control erosion increasing the recharge rate of water, and filtering any contaminants in the runoff before it enters the groundwater. An underground reservoir for stormwater runoff may also be needed but that part of the plan is still not finalized.
  • Permeable paving is already installed in the parking lot.

While additional facilities such as an indoor pool were requested, site constraints were a limiting factor.  Due to Green Acres restrictions, the township is limited to building mostly within the footprint of the old building, only a small portion of the site that is not dedicated to Green Acres – appr. a two-acre parcel.  Extra room was achieved by building up and putting a second story on part of the new building. 

When completed, the new and improved ESCC will comprise approximately 70,000 SF, more than double the original.

Project Timeline

Spring 2024

Council Approval

The Plan will be presented to Council for approval

Spring 2024

Summer 2024

Out to Bid

Once approved by Council, the Plan can go out to bid for construction.

Fall 2024

Construction begins

We anticipate construction will begin in approximately the Fall of 2024.

Fall 2024

Winter/Spring 2026

Project Completion

The current expectation is that the building will be completed in early 2026.

Funding

The overall estimated costs at this time total $42M.  Township administration is still actively working at raising monies to fund the construction.  Planned funding to date include:

  • $5M in grants from the State of New Jersey
  • $1.08 Section108 Loan Guarantee from HUD  (application pending)
  • $15M+ insurance payout - Ewing Township is currently still negotiating the insurance payment from the destruction of the old building.
  • 1.05M grant from the Community Project Fund of HUD through the efforts of Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman. (Rep. Watson Coleman Votes to Fund Government , Secure 18.1M for 12th District)
HUD Funding Requirements

Information is available in Spanish and other languages upon request by sending an email to: [email protected].

Thanks

We are deeply indebted to the following organizations for their assistance in providing options for programming during this time.

  • Ewing Public Schools
  • Mercer County Library
  • St. Luke's Church
  • The College of New Jersey
  • Hamilton Seniors

About DIGroupArchitecture

DIG ("Design Ideas Group") is an award-winning, mid-sized architecture, interior design / graphic design firm specializing in various areas of concentration: education, healthcare, senior housing and community-civic.  They were chosen as the Architect of Record for the restoration for our historic Ewing Senior & Community Center and bath house.

Information updated on June 11, 2024 | April 4, 2024 | March 20, 2024 | February 1, 2024 | January 25, 2024 | January 4, 2024