Thanks to a big endowment and several years of construction, there's going to be a huge community center where Memphians can play, work out, learn, worship and hold garage band practice. Here's what's up with the Salvation Army's Kroc Center.
What it was: The land that the Kroc Center sits on was part of the Mid-South Fair Grounds. There was a public pool there once, too.
(photo thanks to Stephen Hackett, Kroc Center)
What it is now: A community center in progress. The Memphis Kroc Center is being built as part of a series of Salvation Army community centers all over the country that have been funded by the Kroc estate.
Memphis receieved its grant to build the Kroc Center in 2007 and broke ground on the building in March 2010.
What it's going to be: A 100,000 square foot environmentally-sustainable community center accessible to to Memphians of all kinds.
The center is designed to provide Memphians with access to arts, recreation, education and worship space. The building houses class rooms (some soundproof for music lessons), a gym, a fitness center, indoor and outdoor soccer fields, banquet rooms, meeting space, a 300-seat theatre / chapel, playgrounds and small "garages" that bands can use for practice.
One of the center's most unique features is the Multi-Challenge area that presents real-world scenarios and asks teams to solve them using academic and problem solving skills. It's designed for kids, but I have a feeling that the rescue simulations (like one set in a mine shaft) are going to be Memphis' new favorite corporate team building excersize.
There's also an outdoor splash park and an indoor pool with sections for laps and swimming lessons, a lazy river and a water slide that goes outside of the building and ends in the pool.
The Salvation Army is expecting to serve thousands of people every week. To keep it accessible to all, basic membership is free but memberships that allow you to use the gym, pool, fitness rooms and other special areas will be available for a fee.
When it opens: The Kroc Center is set to open in January of 2013.
For more information on the Memphis Kroc Center and a ton of cool renderings of the final project, go here.