The concept of a Salvation Army community center on the Mississippi Gulf Coast first began in 2002 with a $2 million donation from Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc.Although the project was delayed due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, our leadership’s vision never wavered. The project scope continued to expand, and in 2009, the final tally culminated in a multi-million-dollar gift from The Salvation Army, courtesy of a donation from the estate of Mrs. Kroc, to Gulf Coast residents for the construction and future operation of The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center.
The Kroc Center is 52,000 square feet and features a chapel/performing arts center with state of the art audio/visual capabilities; full-sized gymnasium for indoor recreation sports; weight and exercise rooms; dance and aerobic studio; men’s, women’s and family locker rooms; multi-purpose room/dining hall for Salvation Army and community events; and monitored childcare; classrooms; meeting rooms; and a multi-purpose lobby for art and music exhibits. The Center also features an indoor Aquatics Center with exercise pool with zero degree entry, and lap pool for lessons and sports programs, splash pad and two-story water slide. The outdoor recreation area will include a stadium complex with a full athletic field, 1/4 mile track and visitor stands.