Kroc Center to get $7.8 million more

The Salvation Army's Augusta Kroc Center project will receive an additional $7.8 million to offset rising construction costs.

"Basically, this means we've gone from a $90 million project to a $97.8 million project," Derek Dugan, the Kroc Center coordinator for Augusta, said Wednesday.

The additional funds awarded by The Salvation Army Kroc Trustees include a $3.9 million increase in funding for construction and a $3.9 million increase in endowment funding provided through the Joan Kroc estate, Mr. Dugan said.

Cost estimates for the planned 95,000-square-foot center that will occupy 20 acres off Broad Street have risen steadily in recent years, raising concerns that some features might need to be cut or scaled down.

"Since the original estimates were drafted, we have seen a significant increase in construction costs and long-term expense projections," Mr. Dugan said. "We had been faced with having to make significant cuts in the size of the facility. This award from the Kroc Trustees changes all of that."

A capital campaign scheduled to begin next year will try to raise at least $20 million privately for the center, the legacy of a gift by McDonald's heiress Joan Kroc to The Salvation Army upon her death in 2003.

Her $1.7 billion gift was designated to build "Kroc Corps Community Centers" similar to the San Diego Kroc Center she commissioned during her lifetime.

Augusta's planned center will include arts, education and recreation programs; classrooms; a full fitness and aquatics center; and a 400-seat theater.

In addition, the Augusta Kroc Center model includes a "First Stop" Family Service Center that would be a hub of communications and services for Augusta social service organizations.

The completion date is contingent on fundraising.

Under the new funding plan, the Kroc Estate will provide $33.9 million in construction funds and $33.9 million for an operating endowment if $30 million can be raised to match those funds.

Mr. Dugan said The Salvation Army Southern Territory has awarded $10 million in funding credits toward the $30 million goal, meaning the Augusta Salvation Army has to raise $20 million to bring the project to Augusta.

The endowment, he added, will generate $2.7 million a year for operations and upkeep of the center, which will help make the capital fundraising campaign a one-time event.

Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119, or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.

WHAT'S NEXT?

The Salvation Army of Augusta will launch its capital campaign sometime in 2009 with a goal of $20 million.


KROC CENTER BACKGROUND

In 2003, philanthropist Joan Kroc bequeathed $1.7 billion to The Salvation Army to build Kroc centers throughout the U.S. that would combine "family and youth development and recreation."

Approximately $400 million was distributed to the Southern Territory, of which Augusta is a part. The Salvation Army submitted a successful proposal to receive a portion of that funding to build a Kroc Center in Augusta.

Locally, The Salvation Army has already acquired -- through purchase or option -- the parcels it will need for the 20-acre development off Broad Street, which will feature a 95,000-square-foot community services center and facilities for arts, aquatics, recreation and other purposes.