By: Hannah Pollak  | 

Renovations of SBMP Classrooms in Zysman Hall Nearly Completed

Renovations of four classrooms used by the Irving I. Stone Beis Medrash Program (SBMP), located across the Fischel Beit Midrash in Zysman Hall, were mostly completed over the Chagim and the classrooms are fully in use. 

Planning for the renovations began in the fall of 2021, and construction began this summer, taking nearly five months. The rooms were redesigned, with the floors, ceilings and walls being renovated, as well as renovations being done in an adjacent hallway.  

Randy Apfelbaum, Chief Facilities and Administrative Officer at YU, told The Commentator that these classrooms “were old and in need of a renovation,” and therefore, the university was “excited” to receive funding from a donor for a project to significantly modernize the classrooms. The classrooms are now, he said, “bright, contemporary and attractive learning spaces.”

Zysman Hall, built in 1928, was the first building on the Wilf Campus to be built and was the original home of Yeshiva College. Today, the building hosts Yeshiva University High School for Boys (YUHSB) and some SBMP shiurim [lectures].  These shiurim — taught by Rabbis Eli Belizon, Etan Berman, Etan Schnall and Moshe Tzvi Weinberg — are the beneficiaries of the redesigned learning spaces. 

The space will also be used as a satellite beit midrash, Rabbi Yosef Kalinsky, dean of Undergraduate Torah Studies (UTS), told The Commentator. 

A dedication ceremony will be held on Nov. 16, and information about the donor will be shared shortly before, according to Apfelbaum.

The university hired Applied Design Interactive, an architectural firm, and Omara Construction, a contracting firm, to handle the project.

During the renovations, the university replaced the doors and walls with large panes of glass, got rid of large radiators located near the windows, modernized the rooms’ air conditioning units and replaced the blinds, which were previously unusable in some classrooms. In the adjacent hallway, the floors, sinks and ceiling were also renovated, with new light fixtures added.

The glass walls between the classrooms and the adjacent hallway will be partially frosted at a later date, Apfelbaum told The Commentator.

In addition to one fully enclosed classroom, three of the classrooms are divided by a moveable wall, which existed before the renovations. These movable walls can be removed to enable the entire area to be unified. 

The room was previously a Beit Midrash before most UTS shiurim moved to the Glueck Center. 

Rebbeim were happy with the renovations. 

"It is wonderful to see how the yeshiva continues to invest in creating the best learning spaces for our students,” Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Weinberg, who runs a shiur in one of the renovated rooms, told The Commentator. “Our newly renovated classroom is a real display of kavod hatorah and I am personally very thankful for the opportunity to teach there."

Students were also pleased with the work.

“I’m very happy with the new improvements. It's really nice to be in a newly renovated room,” said Matthew Silver (YC ‘24). “One thing I am very happy about are the brand new shades in the room, because it was previously very uncomfortable when the bright sun shined on us and the shades were broken.”

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Photo Caption: Four classrooms, used by the Irving I. Stone Beis Medrash Program (SBMP),  were renovated over the summer. Work is nearly complete.

Photo Credit: The Commentator