Biloxi Kroc Center prepares for grand opening

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - After years of planning and months of construction, completion of the The Salvation Army's Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center in Biloxi Kroc Center is getting closer. Monday, membership applications were made available and project planners say the center should be done by late August.

As construction workers add finishing touches, there's excitement in the air because in a little more than 100 days, the Biloxi Kroc Center will be open for business.

Meghan Calhoun is the Public Relations and Membership Director for the Salvation Army. She said the anticipation for the grand opening is so great, that even the employees are getting in on it.

"Things change daily here. So even for us employees, it's very exciting, and we're almost there, and as of today our memberships go on sale too," said Calhoun.

The excitement that construction is just about complete also stems from the fact that plans for the project date back years ago when when Joan Kroc made her generous donation.

"When she passed away in 2003, she left $1.3 billion to the Salvation Army," Calhoun explains.

Those funds were then divided to build Kroc Centers throughout the US. Project leaders say that history, plus the fact that the center is built on the grounds of the old Yankie Stadium, makes this project that much more meaningful.

"Back in the day, this was the only football stadium. So all the schools on the Gulf Coast had to come here to play their games," Calhoun said. "So it has a very strong sense of community that we're very proud to be a part of. And we even wanted to be even more a part of that by locating the original archway to the stadium as now the official entryway of the Kroc Center."

Just before Hurricane Katrina, the Salvation Army was just months away form breaking ground on this project. But despite that setback things have moved along.

One of the most anticipated attractions is the state-of-the-art, indoor aquatic center. Once completed, the attraction will feature a recreation pool, lazy river, slide, splash pad, hydrotherapy bench and a two lane lap pool.

The Kroc Center is set to open September 19th. If you're interested in becoming one of the center's charter members, give them a call at (228) 207-1218.

You can also access the membership application by visiting the Gulf Coast Salvation Army's website at

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