Since 1905, The Salvation Army has been doing the most good in Hampton Roads by serving those in the community and region in the most need. For the last six to seven years, work at The Salvation Army has been going on to bring a new level of Salvation Army programs and services to Hampton Roads, all to be housed at The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center.
The $80 million project for the 92,000 square foot education, creative arts and recreational building at the corners of Princess Anne Road and Ballentine Boulevard in Norfolk was a vision of Mrs. Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald’s Corporation founder Ray Kroc.
In 2005, when The Salvation Army Hampton Roads Area Command was approved to receive Kroc funds, local Army officials began working with local government officials, including City of Norfolk Vice Mayor Anthony Burfoot, to ensure that the Kroc Center complemented the goals the city held for the community.
“We give thanks for the Norfolk, Broad Creek, and surrounding Hampton Roads communities for faithfully supporting The Salvation Army and helping see this day come to fruition,” said Captain Meredith. “This will be a place where people from all walks of life and backgrounds may come together on level ground, a place to bring family and friends, and a place where the mind, body and spirit will be built up.”
The 370 seat chapel/theater the facility offers various productions and worship opportunities, and multiple classrooms and party rooms are available for rent by individuals and businesses in the community. A large gymnasium and fitness area offer various health and wellness programs to the community. The Kroc Center also features an aquatics area that includes a multiple story water slide, lazy river, zero-entry pool area and lap lanes.
Upon completion of the successful feasibility study in the spring of 2009 for a Kroc Center in Hampton Roads, The Salvation Army began assembling a campaign leadership team and seeking lead gifts. Through that process, Joshua P. Darden was named campaign chair and Frank Batten, Jr. was named honorary campaign chair, respectively. Each made a generous lead gift to the campaign.
“It was very important to Mrs. Kroc and to us that a lack of financial aid not stand in the way of anyone using this facility,” Darden said. “We will have a sliding membership scale and scholarship opportunities as well so that the promise of doing the most good for those in the most need may still be fulfilled.”
Working with local architects, Tymoff+Moss, The Salvation Army was able to assemble a team of local associates so that growth and opportunities from the construction of the $40 million facility benefiedt the local area.
The Kroc Center held its Weekend of Hope grand opening celebration from April 25-27, 2014 and officially opened its doors to the community on April 28, 2014.