BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Salvation Army's new Kroc Center is set to open Monday on Lee Street in Biloxi. Workers are busy adding the finishing touches to the $22 million structure ahead of the grand opening.
"We're extremely excited that we're so close to opening," said Kroc Center Administrator Terry Ray. "As far as looking at this thing and seeing all the vision and everything that's come into fruition, we're just speechless."
Nine years in the making, the center will be the first of its kind on the coast, and it's expected to make quite an impact.
"It is a beacon, not just for Biloxi, but for the whole Mississippi Gulf Coast from state line to state line. It's a place where families can come, from infants all the way up to 80, and 90-year-old folks."
"We have programs for adults, senior citizens, children, teenagers," said Kroc Center Program Director Anthony Fizer. "And we'll have programs in all categories such as athletics, health and fitness, art, music. You name it, I think it's all here for the Mississippi Gulf Coast."
The center is packed with a worship center, fitness room, state of the art aquatic center, and that's just naming a few of its amenities.
"It's a great privilege, a great project to be a part of, that you're going to be touching the lives of the people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and get them to realize their potential and to be better," said Membership Director Meghan Calhoun.
"Joan Kroc and her husband used to come through this area and she wanted to see the most poverty stricken area of the Mississippi Gulf Coast," Ray recalled. "They drove her right by this place and she said, 'I want a center there.'"
Developers say it's the fulfillment of that wish that makes this center even more special.
To learn more about what the Kroc Center has to offer, and how you can join, visit krocmscoast.org.