*This article originally appeared in print in the Jewish Press*

As anyone who has driven along Pacific Street between 120th and 132nd Streets can attest, construction in the Sterling Ridge development is progressing rapidly, including that of the new Temple Israel building, scheduled to be ready for the high holidays in 2013.

While the site may not look like much right now, there are still hints of what is to come: a paved road turning off of Pacific Street and leading to the parking lot; foundation walls enclosing the lower level along the east perimeter have been erected; and the storm and sanitary sewer system has been installed.

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With much of the subterranean infrastructure in place, above-ground construction will soon begin in earnest.

“Steel will start to arrive at the site shortly and it will not be long before we start to see a building rise out of the ground,” said John Waldbaum, chair of the Coordinating Committee.

In fact, “the stone for the exterior of the sanctuary and exterior of the building has been ordered and some of it is already on its way from Israel,” Waldbaum continued. “The first delivery will include enough stone to build a small mockup of the wall system on the site.”

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As exciting as that sounds, Waldbaum also stresses that it’s too early in the construction process for eager Temple Israel members to tour the site.

“It’s still not a clean, safe environment,” he said. “There are open trenches around the foundation walls and steel bars stored across the site.”

Members of the congregation will be invited in the fall to an open house event to see the progress firsthand.

While construction continues at Sterling Ridge, the Coordinating Committee has been in constant communication with not only the Building Council, but also the construction management firm Project Advocates and the architects from Finegold Alexander + Associates.

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“Each day the members of the team are helping to coordinate the approval of design choices, material selections and acquisition, budgeting and project funding with the input of the members of the appropriate committees,” Waldbaum said. “If there is a question about the project, the Coordinating Committee is responsible for finding the answer.”

For instance, the interior designer from Finegold Alexander was in town last week to discuss fabrics, furniture and color scheme with Temple Israel members on the Interiors and Community spaces design teams, and the Building Council also met to go over the construction status report and discuss any schedule or budgetary changes.

As construction continues over the coming months, be sure to check out the newly-redesigned Temple Israel website for photos and regular progress updates.