The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Community Center Camden, New Jersey

K&A provided comprehensive architectural, engineering and interior design services for the new Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center—a 120,000 square foot, state-of-the-art community facility located on a river-front, former brownfield site in downtown Camden, New Jersey. In January 2004, The Salvation Army USA announced that it would be receiving nearly $1.6 billion from the estate of Mrs. Joan Kroc, (whose husband founded McDonald’s), to establish community centers similar to the one Mrs. Kroc established in San Diego, California. Following a competitive, nationwide proposal process, The Salvation Army regional office in the City of Camden received $59 million of funding. By forging new relationships in the community and partnering with corporate sponsors and political leaders, the Salvation Army was able to secure the additional $31 million to fully fund the project.

Camden officials and The Salvation Army representatives chose to locate the community center on a portion of the former Harrison Avenue Landfill site. The 100-acre landfill was owned and operated by the City of Camden from 1952 to 1971. The landfill is now closed, and the land is owned by the Camden Redevelopment Authority (CRA). It is located on the northwest corner of Harrison Avenue and East State Street in the Cramer Hill neighborhood within the Cramer Hill Brownfield Development Area. The selection of this site for the Kroc center made by local stakeholders, city officials and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) was seen as an ideal opportunity to expedite the redevelopment of brownfield sites that border a 2-mile stretch of the Delaware River.

The reclamation of the 24-acre portion of the landfill for the Kroc Center was realized after several phases of remediation. In September 2008, the NJDEP completed an initial $4.1 million publicly-funded cleanup phase which removed approximately 14,000 tons of industrial waste material. Subsequently 221,000 cubic yards of clean infill soil (from a previous Delaware River channel dredging project) was brought to the site from the Palmyra Nature Cove. It was stockpiled on the site, ready to be located under the building’s foundations and to cap the landscaped areas. From December 2011 until February 2013, the remediation work was accomplished and the Palmyra material was relocated once more into its final location.

Nearly three football fields in length, The Kroc Center provides recreational, health, educational, cultural, family and spiritual programming for local area residents. It also serves as the hub for Salvation Army services in the Tri-County region. The amenity-laden facility includes both indoor and outdoor recreational spaces. Outdoor facilities include basketball courts, a regulation little league baseball field with lighting for night games, a softball field, and a soccer/lacrosse/field hockey pitch, meandering walking paths, a playground, and a concessions building with restrooms. There is onsite parking for 250 cars as well as bus parking.

The indoor program is divided into three areas meant to serve the Mind, Body and Spirit. The Fitness space includes an 11,000 square foot gymnasium with spectator seating, an aquatic center with 8-lane competition pool and an indoor water park, an exercise center with dance studios, a thirty foot rock climbing wall, and comprehensive locker room spaces with showers and dressing rooms. There are social gathering spaces for teens and youths, a senior center, drop-in babysitting, a 200-seat performing arts theater, and a 250-seat chapel. Available social services will include a family life and personal development center, classrooms, art room, computer lab, music room, library learning center, a commercial kitchen, an early childhood education center serving 90 preschool children, and a health clinic run by Cooper Hospital. All of these separate spaces connect via an 8,000 SF indoor ‘Town Plaza’ gathering space and café, situated beneath a spectacular glass skylight.


Honors & Awards
NJ Future Smart Growth Award
ULI Willard G. ‘Bill’ Rouse III Awards for Excellence, Finalist
NJ Governor’s Conference Award for Leading Public Private Partnership


Press
Here’s a video from NJTV’s recent story on the opening of the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center—
 


Here’s a video from the Kroc Center’s recent Dedication Ceremony held on Saturday, October 4, 2014. At 34m 30s you can see Major Paul Kain of the Salvation Army as he thanks the design team at K&A and others for all their hard work over the years on the Kroc Center effort—
 


To view a time-lapse video of the Kroc Center’s construction, you can visit the Kroc Center YouTube Channel.


Click here to view the Architectural services related to this project.