We did it, Augusta! After seven years, several challenges and much prayer, The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center of Augusta is now open.
In the past two weeks, thousands of Augustans have entered our doors to tour the facility, become members, exercise, worship, watch a musical, swim, celebrate a birthday, have lunch or take an art class.
IN THE COMING week, thousands more are expected to visit the Kroc Center to learn about our high quality and diverse programming, attend the Georgia Health Science University Diversity Summit, or enjoy the Kroc Center grand-opening celebration.
What is it that is drawing so many residents of greater Augusta to the Kroc Center? For some, it is the excellence of the Kroc Center facility itself. Working with local general contractor R.W. Allen, local architects Cheatham, Fletcher & Scott, and Denver-based architects Barker Rinker Seacat, the Salvation Army of Augusta is now blessed with a magnificent facility.
From the exterior brick, which matches perfectly with the neighboring mill and the use of natural light to lower energy consumption, to the 190-foot-long water slide that exits and re-enters the building and the state-of-the-art, 400-seat Worship and Performing Arts Center, the building itself is reason enough for many to visit the Kroc Center.
For others, the allure of the Kroc Center is its excellent programming. For those who want to be more fit or athletic, the programming options are numerous. One can take a Zumba class, receive a complementary fitness evaluation, take part in a volleyball league, learn to swim, play wheelchair basketball and so much more.
For those who want to advance their abilities in the arts, one can learn to act, take a pottery class, dance in styles ranging from ballroom to hip-hop, sing in a chorus or learn to play an instrument.
THE KROC CENTER even has an array of top-notch programming for seniors and those that take care of seniors with classes ranging from senior nutrition to how to be a better caregiver.
For those looking for a church home, the Kroc Center has become the new home of The Salvation Army of Augusta Corps (which is the church) and offers a variety of religious programming for children of all ages.
For many, it is the people who draw Augustans to the Kroc Center. So many capable and God-led men and women have played key roles in making the Kroc Center of Augusta a reality. The excellence of our people continues today as we have employed the best the area has to offer to serve each guest who enters our doors.
As you enter the Kroc Center, our hope is that you will feel like you are at your home away from home, and that your experience will be enhanced by a warm, friendly and caring staff.
IN ADDITION TO our wonderful facility, programming and people, many visit the Kroc Center because it is a place that we can all come for a positive, life-changing experience. Whether it is the Kroc Center's ability to bring people of different socioeconomic groups together under one roof, or its ability to bring the arts to people who have previously lacked access, the Kroc Center will enrich lives throughout the greater Augusta area.
If you have not yet had the opportunity to visit the Kroc Center of Augusta, I'd like to personally invite you to see all that we offer during the Kroc Center grand-opening celebration Saturday, Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. This celebratory event is open to the public at no charge, and will include entertainment for all age groups and tours of the facility. Our membership staff will be available to answer questions you might have. Please visit KrocAugusta.org for the entire day's line-up.
If you are not able to join us Saturday, please feel free to drop by the Kroc Center at 1833 Broad St. during operating hours for a fun and informative tour of the facility, and to learn more about how to become a member.
Because of the determination and vision of so many, all led by His will, Augusta now has a new destination point of which we can all be proud. We encourage everyone to personally explore this addition to the community so you may find your moment at the Kroc Center.
(The writer is Kroc Center administrator for The Salvation Army of Augusta.)