Dar-us-Salaam's bid to make a new home on a 66 acre property in Howard County, Maryland is ready to go into full swing after post-Ramadan planning.
The home community of institutions like Al-Huda School, a pre-Kindergarten through high school with close to 600 students, the Muslim Link newspaper, and the Muslim Funfest Family Carnival, Dar-us-Salaam announced the property – a former catholic school campus – at a special iftaar event during Ramadan on August 4, 2012. Since then, Dar-us-Salaam's management has been introducing the project to community members with tours and town hall meetings.
While board members say most parents and community members are excited about a new, much larger campus, some continue to struggle with the move as commute times will be longer; the property is in Cooksville, a small rural town about 30 miles from Al-Huda School's current College Park campus.
“We are planning on offering busing for students who live in and around College Park,” said Minhaj Hasan, a Dar-us-Salaam board member. “It's not easy for many people, but we need to focus on the bigger picture and that is the future growth of our community. Having adequate school facilities for our children is really long overdue,” he added.
Dar-us-Salaam must raise $10 million in order to begin operations there in June of 2013; the amount includes $8 million for the property, closing costs, engineering and attorney fees, and the cost of additional modular buildings for Al-Huda School.
Since Ramadan, Dar-us-Salaam restructured its funding development office, moving key staff from other projects and re-assigning them to the “Home of the Heart” fundraising campaign. The community has about six months to raise the funds and obtain zoning approvals. Campaign staff told the Muslim Link that their fundraising plans involve grassroots involvement as well as approaching well endowed individual donors and large institutions. “You'll see bake sales and car washes as well as high profile efforts aimed at getting media attention,” said Fadlullah Firman, campaign manager for the “Home of the Heart” effort. “The campaign is really in its early phase, and we ask Allah to help us as it ramps way up in the coming weeks in shaa Allah,” added Firman.
The conceptual plan for the full campus which Dar-us-Salaam hopes to build over the next 10 to 15 years includes a large masjid, schools for both girls and boys, administrative offices, student dorms, staff condominiums, and community amenities like an indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, and banquet halls. The conceptual plan must approved of by several county departments, after which time architectural and engineering work will commence to develop a detailed site plan.
For more information, visit www.homeoftheheart.org.