Helmsley Trust funds Sapir College shelter

School near Sderot in northwestern Negev within reach of rocket fire from Gaza.

Shelter in Sderot (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Shelter in Sderot
The Sapir Academic College in the South will become a site for shelter for residents of the area during conflicts, thanks to a $1.69 million grant from the Leona and Harry Helmsley Charitable Trust.
The grant is being used to renovate and fortify the college’s auditorium for both the college community and Sderot residents as a shelter when needed.
The college has a student body of 7,500, mostly from the peripheral communities in the Negev desert, and is located three kilometers from the Gaza border. It is easily within range of rocket fire from Gaza and its auditorium will be the largest fortified building in the area.
The Helmsley grant will enable the college to renovate its outdated auditorium to make it handicapped-accessible and provide other modern amenities. The renovated auditorium will also serve as a communications and operations center during conflict.
Construction is already underway, with the refurbished auditorium scheduled to open in early 2020.
“The Helmsley Charitable Trust is proud to support Sapir College in the renovation of its auditorium, which will provide the student body and local community with a much needed state-of-the-art gathering place for academic and community needs, as well as a vital shelter during times of conflict,” said Sandor Frankel, a Helmsley trustee.
Sapir College president Prof. Omri Yadlin said: “We are most thankful for the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s grant and for their recognition of the significant role that the Sapir College plays in the Negev. The new, renovated auditorium will enable the college to provide better education in a safer, more accessible and elegant space. It will also improve the college’s role as a cultural and economic anchor for the whole region.”