We are considering a major renovation to our shul (gutting and moving the building) and want to rearrange spaces. Do you have to preserve specific use of spaces such as the current men’s section must remain a men’s in the reconstructed building?
No, the specific uses of the different sections of the shul do not need to be preserved, and may be rearranged according to convenience. The current davening area (men or ladies) must not be used as a bathroom area in the new compound.
Sources: See Chasam Sofer, Orach Chaim 31; Rav Pe’alim 2:21; Sedei Chemed, Beis Keneses 16 (concerning usage of an old shul).