For several years, officials at the Hillel Day School dreamed of creating open spaces where students could work collaboratively. So when a local family approached the school with a $5 million donation, it was like a dream come true.

“I can’t begin to tell you.” said Steve Freedman, head of school for Hillel.

“This is what we needed to do. We were in the talking stages of how we were going to get the space we need. In one fell swoop we had this gift to do this transformation.”

The project is known as the Audrey and William Farber Family IDEA Collaborative, named for the West Bloomfield couple who funded it.

Transformation for the private Jewish day school in Farmington Hills included changing 30,000 square feet of gym, lab and classroom space into an art studio, science studio and audio/video space. It all opens up to a greenhouse and outdoor learning area.

“It’s to provide an inviting and comfortable environment to inspire the kind of learning that will encourage kids to think outside of the box.” Freedman said. “To think creatively.”

The Hillel Day School has 540 students in grades K-8.

Crews began work in mid-May and should be done within a few weeks, Freedman said. The school will unveil the renovations at 7 p.m. Wednesday during the grand opening.

William Farber, 82, charged his family with donating his estate, said daughter-in-law Nancy Farber.

Earlier this year, William Farber and his wife, Audrey, gave a $10 million endowment to Temple Israel to enhance its preschool program and provide more annual scholarships to those seeking a Jewish education.

“He’s a big believer in Jewish education and youth,” Nancy Farber said.

The Farber family approached Hillel officials, asking them what they would do with a transformative gift.

“We didn’t know it at the time they had this really great plan, someday in the future plan,” Nancy Farber said. “That someday was right now.”

Hillel Day School is at 32200 Middle Belt in Farmington Hills.

(313) 222-2311

Read or Share this story: