Kroc Center construction keeps a steady pace

Project ahead of plan, 60 percent complete

The gym floor concrete was poured just last week -- and a swimming pool built in Italy is almost ready to ship.


"It's coming together really fast," said Derek Dugan, the community relations coordinator for Augusta's $100 million Salvation Army Kroc Center.

Seven months after a much heralded groundbreaking, the 17-acre project off Broad Street is 60 percent complete and slightly ahead of schedule.

"It was let as a 480-day contract, and we've had just two rain days so far," Dugan said.

"All the exterior work should be done by the end of the year, and then we just have to focus on the interior," Dugan said.

With a projected opening in June or July, workers are adding walls and roofs in sections, with recreational amenities on one side and education facilities on the other.

"A week ago, a lot of this was still dirt," Dugan said, gesturing at a newly roofed area that will house administrative offices.

Once completed, the 100,000-square-foot project will include an aquatics center, performing arts hall, gymnasium, amphitheater and many other amenities, in addition to a "first stop center" in a separate building nearby that will include space for social service organizations.

The unique swimming pool, with varied depths, a water slide that goes through the building's exterior walls and a "lazy river," is being fabricated by a specialty firm in Italy, which will ship it to Augusta for assembly and installation in December. Other amenities taking shape include a 25-person orchestra pit, birthday party rooms, entry foyers and ticket counters, locker rooms and family "cabana" dressing rooms.

Outside, work will commence early next year on the landscaping and other activities associated with a 5-acre green-space park that will offer views of the Augusta Canal. Houses moved from the Kroc Center site to a location nearby will also be renovated for uses that include a security office and a sandwich shop.

R.W. Allen, the contractor on the project, has about 85 workers at the site. Once opened, the Kroc Center will employ an estimated 102 people.

The total investment, including a permanent operating endowment, will be almost $100 million.

Kroc Center components

The Ray & Joan Kroc estate is providing a total gift of $67.8 million.

- Total of 100,000 square feet on 17 acres

- Community Center, 75,000 square feet

- First Stop Center, 10,000 square feet

- First Stop Village (seven renovated houses)

- Eve Street Row (five renovated houses)

- Sibley Chapel

- 5-acre park on Augusta Canal

- Amphitheater