New Jewish Community Center mixes fitness with fun on a historic Tampa site.
When you’re sitting down to a gourmet dinner at your daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, lounging with your family in one of the pool cabanas at the Mezrah Family Aquatic Center, or watching your son throw a pot in the Roberta M. Golding Visual Arts Center art studio, consider the illustrious historical company you’re in at the Bryan Glazer Family Jewish Community Center (BGFJCC). Pink Floyd and Elvis Presley performed here. Fans roared for championship wrestlers here. Four days before his assassination, John F Kennedy gave a speech here. And now, hundreds of Tampa families will become part of that history when they become part of the iconic Bryan Glazer Family JCC.
Lovingly conceptualized and meticulously designed, the Bryan Glazer Family Jewish Community Center stands as a beacon to Tampa’s future on the site of the city’s history, the former Fort Homer Hesterly Armory. The facility was entirely transformed turning the existing 83,500-square-feet of vacant space, which was once an armory facility for the National guard and later an entertainment venue, in to a 100,000-square-feet+ community center that offers families and community members of all ages a wealth of leisure and health activities.
For families, the Bryan Glazer JCC is set to become the ultimate destination in Tampa Bay, with year-round after-school programs and immersive summer day camps for children in grades 1-8. The Mezrah Family Aquatic Center especially promises to be a draw, with a splash pad, dedicated family swim times overseen by certified lifeguards, a family changing area and locker rooms with towel service and poolside cabanas. Aquatics programming includes swimming lessons from 6 months upwards and experienced swimmers can join swim teams and clubs.
For those who prefer to stay dry, there’s parent/child yoga, boot camps and volleyball, kickball, basketball, pickleball and dodgeball leagues. Kids can also participate in specially-tailored group fitness classes that let them blow off steam doing Zumba or learning zombie fighting kickboxing skills. And while parents take advantage of classes in everything from Pilates to Krav Maga, they can do so with complete peace of mind knowing that the facility offers free babysitting for kids ages 6 weeks to age 11 onsite at the BGFJCC’s J Care.
With health at the forefront of the center’s agenda, the fitness center boasts state-of-the-art cardio and weight equipment with personal viewing screens, free weights, strength training equipment and more than 55 classes a week with highly trained hand-picked instructors in everything from yoga and Pilates to group cycling and Gasparilla 5K training. Personal and small-group training is offered along with these lessons. For those who’d rather exercise in water, the Mezrah Family Aquatic Center offers three pools: an 8-lane 25-yard competition lap pool; a warm-water, zero-entry therapy pool for aquatic exercise and swim lessons; and a heated spa.
The 7,500-square-foot Roberta M. Golding Visual Arts Center is the cultural hub of the facility, with nine indoor kilns, pottery wheels and studios offering classes in everything from ceramic sculpture and stained glass to watercolor and printmaking. For adults, there are ballroom dancing lessons, drum circles and bridge sessions, film series, cooking lessons, round table discussions about topics du jour and a full calendar of holiday and special events. With more than 11,000 square feet of meeting space—including an elegant ballroom—the BGFJCC is poised to become the grand dame of local venues, promising to host a lifetime of a family’s events from baby’s first birthday to her wedding, in true Tampa style.