GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The current area command for the Salvation Army is outdated and overcrowded. That's why the organization is moving north off Highway 49 where there is plenty of room to grow.
The existing building on the property will be renovated and put to good use. Maj. Beth Sturdivant is the commander.
"The greatest advantage will be everything will be in one location. Our Center of Hope will be here. Our area command, financial assistance offices, our family store will be here. It's going to be great just to have everything, almost like a one-stop shop," Sturdivant explained.
The Center of Hope will have 20,000-square-feet of space with transitional housing. Clients who have seen the plans know it's needed. One of them is Samantha Six.
"Well, I've been in situations myself where I wish I had some kind of building or operation that did have transitional housing, so it will be really good for the people that actually need it," Six said.
More space means more help to those in need, according to Sturdivant.
"We'll be able to do even more with all this property. We'll be able to assist more people. It's a great location, easy access. It's a secure location, so we're really excited for the things that are going to be coming soon," said Sturdivant.
While Sturdivant is very excited about the move and the potential to help even more people in the future, Salvation Army staff members and volunteers are just as pumped. April Morton is the receptionist.
"Oh, we're very excited about the new building. To be able to have the equipment and the room that we need, like my desk right now, I don't have the room to put the things out for the clients that come in," Morton said.
"It's going to be great to have a new facility, new programs to operate. We're going to be able to reach out to more people in the community and make a bigger difference in our community. We're all really looking forward to it," said Zach Rhodes, volunteer coordinator.
Renovations on the existing Highway 49 building will begin after the first of the year. The Center of Hope will be built in stages and take about three years to complete.
The estimated cost for the entire project is $7 million. Much of that funding will come from donations.