The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center of Salem, Oregon, represents the successful integration of multiple community functions—church, library, education center, cultural performing arts facility, and recreation center—in one complex.
First and foremost, the Kroc Center was designed to make local residents feel welcome. The materials and aesthetic appeal suggest a contemporary Pacific Northwest character, responding to the connection to nature and sustainable development that characterizes the region. Basalt stone veneer, used selectively in prominent areas, evokes the rugged Cascade mountain range visible from the site. Shed roofs soar over the site with expanses of windows that blur the distinction between indoor and outdoor activity areas. Key building elements are sheathed in copper-colored solid phenolic panels with a hue that sparkles and shifts in sunlight.
From the light-filled lobby entrance, visitors can find a number of activities—from the incredible pool (which is loaded with features for children and adults) to the fitness area, gym, track, chapel, or special activity rooms. In addition to accommodating the reception area, the central lobby includes café seating adjacent to a dramatic climbing wall.
The 10.65-acre site of the Salem Kroc Center—previously a gravel pit in one of Oregon’s most underserved cities in terms of recreation—has undergone a profound transformation into a parkland. Some of the Kroc Center’s sustainable features include bioswales, use of environmentally friendly products like cork and formaldehyde-free composite wood products, low-flow fixtures and a single-stream recycling program. The majority of the concrete masonry units used on the exterior were sourced from within a 500-mile radius. Native basalt stone veneer, a driftwood mantel recovered from a local beach in Rockaway, Oregon, and carpet made from post-production and post-consumer waste were also incorporated into the design. The Kroc Center has been awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Silver certification.
After one year of service, the community center exceeded expectations with over 10,000 new members and nearly 100,000 day users. These numbers are a testament to how desperately the community needed this recreational outlet.