This is an artist's rendering of the planned Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center on the Leeward Coast, projected to open in 2010.
New center will 'change lives'
The Salvation Army receives $80 million to create a Leeward community facility
More than 28,000 students from Waipahu to Nanakuli could reap the benefits of programs and activities at the state's largest community center, thanks to the Salvation Army and a late philanthropist.
"It will change lives," Gov. Linda Lingle said yesterday at a news conference held at the corporate headquarters of the First Hawaiian Bank. "This was truly a community effort.
"This center, what it says to the people on the Leeward Coast, instead of what they rightfully believe is they usually get the last, they get the leavings, they get the worse roads, the worst sidewalks, their schools are in the greatest disrepair. Now they're going to have the best in the entire state," Lingle said.
The Salvation Army in Hawaii received an $80 million grant yesterday to build a 100,000-square-foot Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center on a 10-acre site in Kapolei to provide a gathering place for youth and families.
When Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, died in 2003, she bequeathed $1.6 billion to the Salvation Army to build community centers throughout the country.
Honolulu was one of 19 cities within 13 Western states that competed for funding. Of six selected, Hawaii received the largest grant amount, said commissioner Joe Noland, of the Salvation Army's Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division.
Of the $80 million, half will be slated for construction while the remaining amount will be slated for endowment to partially fund operations held at the center.
Donald Horner, president and chief executive officer of First Hawaiian Bank, said they still have to raise about $20 million to $25 million to cover the remaining costs for construction and endowment.
The overall cost for the center is estimated at more than $100 million. An additional $15 million is needed for construction, and $10 million for endowment costs to maintain the quality of the center.
Horner is heading the campaign to raise the remaining funds by the end of the year. Already, they have received a bequest of more than $4 million to the Salvation Army from the late Jack and Marie Lord. The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, James and Abigail Campbell Foundation and First Hawaiian Bank also pledged their commitment to help fund the center and its operations. Horner also said he is confident that they will obtain a partnership with Kamehameha Schools to help fund the center.
"I'm reasonably confident that we'll be able to raise that $20 (million) to $25 million by the end of the year based on the great indications of support we got from corporations and foundations in Hawaii today," Horner said.
Construction for the center is slated to start in 2008 or 2009 and to open in 2010.
More than a year ago, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands awarded a 65-year lease to the Salvation Army for the 10-acre site for $10 a year, according to Chairman Micah Kane. The site is near parcels where the department plans to build more than 2,000 homes.
The department and the Salvation Army hope to work out a land exchange because the organization has a policy of having land in fee simple, Kane said.
"So we're going to work with them to try to make that a very seamless and easy procedure, to make that land exchange happen," Kane said. The center will also be a place for Salvation Army officials to provide social service programs for families. Some programs will be designed to help prevent problems of gangs, substance abuse and teen pregnancy.
It will also link communities together on the Leeward Coast that are "somewhat isolated," Horner said. "This is not a community center for Kapolei. This is a community center for all communities within a 10-mile radius. It belongs to them. That's the key," he added.
The center will not only be a major resource for communities, but will also create more than 100 jobs for people on the Leeward Coast. "It will be employing people from the community," Horner said. "It will be people of the community giving back to the community through that center."
"This is the best thing that's happened to us in ... I don't even remember when the last good thing was," said Maeda Timson, chairwoman of the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board. "We're grateful and real excited."
Timson noted that they are normally marred with the "ills" of the city such as the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill, Kahe Power Plant and traffic congestion.
"We always get shut out," said Nyejo Delos Santos, 21, of Waianae. To have a place that will be the best in the state, especially for the kids, is good, Delos Santos said.
The following are proposed key elements of the Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center in Kapolei:
» A 1,000-seat performing arts and worship center that can be used to hold concerts, theater productions, graduation ceremonies, banquets and youth performances.
» A Conference and Education Center with multipurpose meeting and classrooms that could be used for after-school programs, kupuna classes, parenting and family education programs, and club meetings.
» An aquatic center featuring a 25-meter world-class competition swimming pool and a smaller pool for children, families and kupuna water aerobics classes.
» An athletic center including a 10,000-square-foot gymnasium suitable for college and high school sports as well as a weight room, aerobic/dance studio and a 60-foot climbing wall.
» An outdoor cultural activities center with a performance pavilion, hula mound, canoe-building facility and outdoor ropes challenge course.
» A state-of-the-art preschool for 125 children.
» A 6-acre park to be built next to the community center where Salvation Army officials hope to build a youth sports facilities including baseball fields, barbecue facilities and a family sports park.
Source: Salvation Army