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Topping out on Norfolk community center set for Wednesday

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The Salvation Army is hosting a “Topping Out” ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 20, at noon for the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Norfolk. That’s when the final pieces of steel will go into place to support the roof of the 92,000-square-foot center at the intersection of Princess Anne Road and Ballentine Boulevard. 

The event marks a milestone in the construction and is a good sign that the project is on track to meet its anticipated opening in April 2014. “We are excited by the progress that is being made, and we look forward to this milestone in the construction,” Captain Brett Meredith of The Salvation Army said in a statement.

The estimated $98 million project was a vision of Joan Kroc, the wife of McDonald’s Corp. founder Ray Kroc. Constructions costs, covered by the Kroc Estate, are expected to be $41 million.  However, money for a $28 million endowment has come primarily from fundraising, in a local effort led by philanthropist Joshua P. Darden Jr.

He has served as chairman of the endowment campaign since it began in 2009.  About $25.8 million of a $28 million dollar goal has been raised, with the Salvation Army receiving pledges and contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. After the center’s opening, the endowment funds raised locally will be matched with an additional $28 million from the Kroc Estate to create a $56 million endowment for the center. 

“This is a huge event that takes us well down the road to creating and completing a great facility for all citizens of Norfolk and Hampton Roads to participate in,” Darden said in a statement.

The Kroc Center in Norfolk’s Broad Creek Community will house programs for residents of all ages. In accordance with Joan Kroc’s wishes, there will be a sliding membership scale and scholarship opportunities. The Kroc Center will offer a themed waterpark, high school-size gymnasium, 280-seat chapel theater, health and fitness area, lobby café, and community rooms.

While programming has not been finalized, the facility plans to offer various arts productions, worship opportunities and educational and fitness programs. The Kroc Center also will have an aquatics center with a multiple-story water slide, lazy river, zero-entry pool area and lap lanes.

The $2.2 million remaining to fully endow the Kroc Center will be used, along with the already pledged $25.8 million, to offset costs of the sliding membership scale and scholarship opportunities so a maximum number of families and individuals from all socio-economic backgrounds can participate.

Tymoff+Moss is serving as the architect on the project and Whiting-Turner is the local contractor.

Robert Powell

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