Officers of The Salvation Army Freeport Corps have begun a $450,000 expansion process that will not only result in a larger facility, but a wider range of community programs and amenities, Captain Cheryl Compton has revealed
Construction on the building is officially underway following a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, August 5, and, if weather permits, Compton said, the building should be completed in December.
The addition to the building will include two classrooms and a conference room with a capacity of 150 people.
The four-phase project is five years in the making and is presently in its third stage.
The expansion is a pricey undertaking, but, according to Compton, the organization was able to pay off the $450,000 bill thanks to generous donations from supporters abroad and here at home.
“We had a $200,000 donation from our Salvation Army friends in the United States, but we raised the rest of it here,” Compton said.
“Over half the money was raised right here on Grand Bahama island which is an amazing feat, because we know the economy has been down and yet people are giving. The community is really what made this possible.”
But, she said, their fund-raising efforts are not yet completed.
Compton said that the organization must acquire $82,000 before entering the final phase of development.
Acknowledging that Grand Bahama residents have been overwhelmingly supportive of this effort, Compton said the organization intends to raise the money on island.
She said the residents will be rewarded for their contributions once construction is finished, as the public will be welcome to enjoy the programs and services offered at the facility.
When all phases of the project are completed, the location will feature an educational center, playground, walking and running track and exercise facility, in addition to its existing thrift store.
“We’re going to put in a secure multi-age playground. It’s a beautiful design, so that people can come to a location where it’s safe to play with their children or to let their children play while they go and exercise, because we’re also going to be putting in an adult exercise area and a walking running track,” Compton said.
She is also hopeful that the community will support their effort to construct a baseball field at the rear of the facility.
Compton said there is room for even more programs.
“Once you have the place to do things and the space to do things, you can open it up to other people who want to offer their talents to share with Grand Bahama,” she said.
“We’re very proud of the fact that we’re able to expand our programs, maintain the ones that we’ve already got and put in a facility in which we can have the space to do more community education.”
Published Friday, August 9 , 2014