Salvation Army notes success in Kroc Center fund-raising efforts

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Artist renderings of the Salvation Army's planned Kroc Center show aquatics, basketball, performing arts and other facilities housed in an 85,000-square-foot complex.

EXTRA: See 19 artist renderings of the planned Kroc Center complex.

The Salvation Army's 85,000-square-foot Kroc Center complex in Augusta's Harrisburg community is well on its way to becoming a reality, according to organizers of the $97.8 million project.

"Today, for us, is like a dream come true," Kroc Administrator Todd Mason told more than 100 supporters who gathered at the Chafee Park site this morning to hear an encouraging -- and detailed -- report that included the site's final design and the progress of fundraising.

The 17-acre center is 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" in many cities across the nation, including Augusta.

The Kroc estate is providing $33.9 million for land acquisition and construction costs, plus an additional $33.9 million for a permanent operating endowment, for a total gift of $67.8 million, said Jim Hull, the fundraising campaign's nucleus division chair.

"That is an ongoing, permanent endowment," he said. "The raising of $20 million locally triggers the release of those matching funds."

The Salvation Army announced gifts today totaling $10,476,273, which included a $3 million pledge from the Masters Tournament, $1 million from the Community Foundation of the CSRA and almost $6.5 million in additional pledges, including gifts from Georgia Power, Atlanta Gas Light, Husqvarna and the Cherry, Bekaert & Holland accounting firm.

A new design and floorplan unveiled today include a mammoth aquatics center with 9,000 square feet of pools and an unusual water slide tower outside the main building. There are also classrooms, a 400-seat theater, a 270-seat banquet hall, rehearsal areas and many other features.

One of the project's signature features, which is being used as a model for future Kroc Centers in other cities, will be a "First Stop Center" in a separate building from the main complex.

"It will be an assessment center to help steer families to programs that can help them," said Derek Dugan, the center's coordinator. The building will have 16 offices that could house 20 or more organizations.

"With all of these organizations working under one roof, it can maximize efficienty and eliminate duplication," he said. The concept can also reduce waste and abuse.

Mr. Dugan also noted that the Salvation Army's homeless and rehabilitation programs are not part of the new Kroc Center, and will remain at its current site on Greene Street.

The site for the project includes the Chafee Park area along the Augusta Canal and numerous private tracts that have been acquired by the Salvation Army since December. In all, at least 20 parcels have been purchased, involving more than $1.4 million.

"What you see outside today, and what will be, are two very different things," Mr. Dugan said.

The latest design for the center includes a primary structure of old red brick that will blend with the existing structures -- including the historic King and Sibley textile mills. The design also includes walkways, parks, landscaping and about seven acres of undeveloped, flat terrain along the canal.

Once the center is opened, there will be full-time security staff on the premises.

Other amenities included in the final design are: fitness center and gym, aerobic and weight training areas, senior lounge, computer lab, classrooms for adult education, art and dance classrooms, music rehearsal and teaching areas, a teaching kitchen for job training purposes, outdoor terrace overlooking the canal, waterslide and splash park.

The Salvation Army is also working to relocate and renovate historic homes on the site. Mr. Dugan said seven houses are being moved to the vicinity of the First Stop Center to be reincarnated as offices; six other houses along Eve Street are also being moved.

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AUGUSTA'S SALVATION ARMY KROC CENTER

Vital Statistics:

Total investment (including permanent operating endowment): $97.8 million

Location: Chafee Park area of Harrisburg, with more than 17 acres.

Employment: approximately 102, including full and part-time

Project size: approximately 85,000 square feet in multiple buildings.

Aquatics center: 9,000 square feet with external slide tower.

"First Stop" center: offices for more than 20 family service groups.

Arts/Education/Worship Center: 400-seat theater, 270-seat banquet hall.

Greenspace: about seven acres of Chafee Park along Augusta Canal

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Augusta's Kroc Center financial details:

- The Ray & Joan Kroc estate is providing $33.9 million for land acquisition and construction costs, plus an additional $33.9 million for a permanent operating endowment, for a total gift of $67.8 million.

- To qualify for that gift, Augusta's project must raise $30 million locally, which includes a $10 million credit given by the foundation to the local Salvation Army for its existing programs and facilities.

- Thus, the amount needed to complete the campaign is $20 million, and with $10.4 million in pledges announced Monday, the amount needed to meet the goal is $9.6 million.

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Pledges announced Monday:

Private donations (including Husqvarna): $6,236,473

Cherry, Bekaert & Holland, $50,000

Atlanta Gas Light, $50,000

Georgia Power Foundation, $150,000

Community Foundation of the CSRA. $1 million

Masters Tournament, $3 million

TOTAL: $10,476,273

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Fundraising campaign leadership:

Boone A. Knox, chairman

James M. Hull, nucleus division chair

C.G. "Pete" Caye Jr., leadership division chair

Brent A. Smith, major division chair

Wyck A. Knox, Jr., foundation/corporation chair

Rick L. Evans, treasurer

Lana J. Rahn, leadership awareness chair

J. Robert Richards Sr., advisory board campaign chair

Other members: Phil Alexander, Dickey Boardman, Tom Blanchard III, Bennett P.R. Bowers, Ron Cross, Mrs. Greg Bowles, Bo Bovard, Clayton Boardman III, Walter Dukes, Terry Elam, Nick W. Evans Jr., Richard Fairey, Brandon Candler Henderson, Penny F. Hudson, William B. Kuhlke Jr., E.G. Meybohm, Robert C. Osbourne Jr., H.M. Osteen Jr., Travers W. Paine III, Patrick Rice, Norman Schaffer, Chuck Smith, Ashley Hock Smith, Maj. Gen. Perry M. Smith, George N. Snelling, Dennis Sodomka, Jeff Spears.

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