Facility Profile - March 2010
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Pointing to the Future

The Salvation Army Kroc Center in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho

By Steve Blackburn

Other amenities offered by the Coeur d'Alene center are somewhat similar to those provided by a number of modern, multigenerational community recreation centers. They include:

  • A 25 yard by 25 meter, 10-lane competition-size swimming pool.
  • Indoor family-oriented leisure pool with waterslide, lazy river and zero-beach entry.
  • Group fitness studio with a spring-loaded floating floor.
  • Rock-climbing pinnacle.
  • Indoor walk/jog track.
  • A 5,350-square-foot fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Indoor and outdoor playgrounds and a child-sitting facility.

The cost to construct the center and underwrite an endowment for operating costs and subsidization of membership rates was approximately $75 million, with $6.5 million provided by the local community. Monthly memberships range from $8 for youth to $28 for adults and $55 for families. Scholarships are available for those who can't afford the membership fees.

While The Salvation Army is an evangelical part of the Universal Christian church and each center will have a chapel, membership is open to everyone regardless of religious affiliation. The Coeur d'Alene Kroc Church congregation averages 250 people each Sunday.

In its promotional material for the Coeur d'Alene Kroc Center, The Salvation Army declares, "The programs, as well as the building itself, have been designed to stimulate the mind, body and spirit, to provide hope, and to transform the life of each and every member of the community."

Lofty goals, to be sure, but the Coeur d'Alene center is on track to become a phenomenal success. In an area of northern Idaho with a population of roughly 38,000, the center had signed up 16,000 members by mid-September 2009.

"The early response from the community has been unbelievable," said Major John Chamness, Kroc Center executive director, shortly after the opening. "It's been much better than we thought," he added, noting the original projection was for approximately 1,500 members.

In a down economy, it is of course naďve to assume that many communities can afford to duplicate the Kroc Center model without a significant outside bequest. But the centers' success should at least expand our vision of what is possible from a community center.

Building and maintaining separate facilities is an expensive proposition. The Kroc Centers have demonstrated the success of combining a performing arts center with a recreation center. Adding a library with modern multimedia resources to the mix—similar to what was done at the San Diego Kroc Center—is a definite possibility for the community center of the future.

Whatever form tomorrow's community center takes, it is bound to be a dynamic, fun place to be with your friends, family or just by yourself. One thing is for certain: you won't be bored.


The Salvation Army Kroc Center, Coeur d'Alene:

Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture: www.brsarch.com