Kroc Center

There’s not much to see right now except a vast field of scraped red soil with earth movers and front loaders crawling along unmarked paths, and the bones of a building under construction. But in the next two years, 18 acres off Academy Street in the West End will be transformed and revitalized by the Salvation Army’s Kroc Center.

Residents of the community will be able to enjoy activities in the 73,000 square foot community center set to be the highlight of the campus. Children will be able to attend the Greenville County School District’s A. J. Whittenberg elementary school, the first in the state to focus on engineering, located on the adjacent property. A 300-seat chapel and performing arts center, a conference center, an indoor pool, and teen activity areas will draw neighbors together for recreation, to gather in prayer, or to experience cultural events.

The Salvation Army estimates this complex at $27 million and may create 80 jobs. It’s a monumental effort that when complete, will be the work of many hands. But Joyce Smart, development consultant for the Kroc Center says the Community Foundation played an integral role in making the vision reality.

“We had to meet a local match amount, and the Community Foundation funding was part of the reason a $54 million grant was released from The Salvation Army for construction and endowment.”

In addition to assisting with match monies, Smart says the Community Foundation’s $1 million investment went towards a part-time position for fund raising. “This is critical,” explained Smart, because the economic climate has magnified the importance of maintaining donor relationships.

It also allowed the purchase of adjacent property for a 16-court tennis facility. “We will pursue another grant from the US Soccer Foundation for a lighted artificial turf soccer field, the only one of its kind in Greenville County, and a rock-climbing wall,” she said. “These are more likely to materialize because of the endorsement of the Community Foundation.”