Kroc Center Hawaii gears up for grand opening

Sonny Gay
Sonny Gay
Major Phil Lum, administrator and corps officer of Kroc Center Hawaii
Major Phil Lum, administrator and corps officer of Kroc Center Hawaii

KAPOLEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii's largest community center is just one week away from its grand opening. The Kroc Center in Kapolei will hold a dedication ceremony and open house at 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 28. The facility will open to the public on February 1.

Sonny Gay, 78, signed up to join the Kroc Center while it was still being built. Now he is one of nearly 1,000 members. He has been trying out the $133-million facility before the official opening.

"This could be one of the best facilities in the country. Maybe no equal. I think we're very fortunate in this area to have such facilities," said Gay.

Joan Kroc, the widow of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, donated $1.8 billion to the Salvation Army to create Kroc Centers across the country.

"Joan Kroc really wanted to build these facilities along with the Salvation Army to provide opportunities for people in the community, particularly children and youth and families," explained Major Phil Lum, administrator and corps officer of Kroc Center Hawaii.

Members will have access to the health and wellness center, as well as the colorful aquatic area.

"There's just water flying all over the place. You've got splash pads where water is just squirting out of the ground. There's this huge bucket of water that turns over and just gets everybody wet. The kids just love it," said Lum.

Monthly memberships range from $49 for seniors to $109 for a family of six or more. Scholarships will also be available starting in April for those who can't afford the fees.

"We want to make the center be open and available for as many people as possible and we don't want financial capability to be a factor in that," said Lum.

Other features include a gymnasium, an art studio, and a 500-seat worship and performing arts center. A preschool is also set to open in March.

"It's actually really hard to describe because it's so many things and it's so unique. There really isn't a lot of other things to compare it to," Lum said.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.