The concept of a Salvation Army community center on the Mississippi Gulf Coast first began in 2002 with a $2 million donation from Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald’s franchise founder Ray Kroc. Although the project was delayed due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, our leadership’s vision never wavered. The project scope continued to expand, and in 2009, the final tally culminated in a multi-million-dollar gift from The Salvation Army, courtesy of a donation from the estate of Mrs. Kroc, to Gulf Coast residents for the construction and future operation of The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center.
The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, known as The Salvation Army Kroc Center, opened its doors to the public on September 19, 2011. Mrs. Kroc made a $1.5 billion donation to The Salvation Army to build “Kroc” Centers around the U.S. Today there are 26 centers located around the country.
In keeping with Mrs. Kroc’s charge that every Kroc Center be a beacon of hope and an agent of change in an under-served community, the Salvation Army Kroc Center is located in the very heart of the East Biloxi Community, at the historic Yankie Stadium. The Center provides facilities, programs and services that encourage positive living, offer life-changing experiences for children and adults, strengthen families and enrich the lives of seniors. These facilities, programs and services promote educational enrichment, life skills development and spiritual and physical wellness.
The Kroc Center is 52,000 square feet and features a chapel/performing arts center with state of the art audio/visual capabilities; full-sized gymnasium for indoor recreation sports; weight and exercise rooms; dance and aerobic studio; men’s, women’s and family locker rooms; multi-purpose room/dining hall for Salvation Army and community events; and monitored childcare; classrooms; meeting rooms; and a multi-purpose lobby for art and music exhibits. The Center also features an indoor Aquatics Center with exercise pool with zero degree entry, a lap pool for lessons and sports programs, splash pad and two-story water slide. The outdoor recreation area includes a stadium complex with a full athletic field, 1/4 mile track and visitor stands.
While The Salvation Army Kroc Center is ideally located to meet the needs of underserved residents, the programs and services provided are being designed to serve as a magnet that will attract the entire coast community, be financially self-sustaining and further the mission of The Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center indoor aquatic facility is designed to meet the needs of Mississippi Gulf Coast residents. Our programming provides maximum utilization of the aquatics center space. In addition to the recreation pool and lap pool, the aquatic facility offers a fun water play area with a water slide for the whole family that encourages multi-generational interaction.
The recreation pool is a zero depth entry pool and children will enjoy attractions such as the Jumbo Shrimp slide, Splashpads, and water play structure.
The recreation pool also offers a family water slide with a catch pool. Members and participants will enjoy this exciting feature as they slide away on the two story slide (must be 48″ to use the large slide). All children 5 years and under must have an adult or guardian within arms reach at all times.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a favorite retirement spot, with a higher than average number of retirees when compared to the national average. The aquatic facility creates an avenue for elders to stay engaged in their communities, while building networks and friendships amongst younger generations. The Lap pool will offer a number of classes and will also provide space for water volleyball and water basketball. Our pool is also equipped with a lift chair for handicap access.
One of the largest spaces in the Kroc Center is the gymnasium. The gym features a beautiful hard wood floor and will play host to activities such as basketball, volleyball, dodgeball and even indoor soccer.
The Kroc Center fitness center is equipped with state-of-the-art cardio and strength equipment to get you in shape and be healthy. Our cardio equipment is IPOD compatible, so if your battery is low just plug it in our machine. The Kroc Center even has certified personal trainers to assist our members with their health and fitness needs.
Dance & Aerobics Studio
Adjacent to the Fitness Center, this studio will accommodate a wide variety of programs to meet the growing needs of the fitness community. Aerobics, Zumba, Pilates and other exciting exercise programs will be offered in this area. The wood studio floors are cushioned for easier use and guest comfort.
The Salvation Army Yankee Stadium
This outdoor track is 1/4 of a mile and is located outside the Kroc Center at Yankie Stadium. The track is suitable for walkers and runners alike, especially those who enjoy exercising outdoors.