The Mission branch of the Salvation Army Corps, 1156 Valencia St., hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking for its playground enclosure project on Tuesday. Members of the community, representatives from the San Francisco Police Department, the project’s advisory board and children from the group’s day program attended the event.

“We have been waiting for this day for a long time, and the day is here that we’re starting construction,” said Lt. Col. Steve Smith, the Salvation Army’s Golden State divisional commander.

“We have been in the Mission District for 122 years, and folks, we are not going away; we’re moving forward,” Smith said.

The project, which includes a new gymnasium, has been in the planning stage for three years.

The gymnasium will allow youth activities at the Salvation Army center to continue even in bad weather. The current open playground space is not usable when it rains, according to Captain Angie Carcamo of the Salvation Army’s Mission Corps.

“The new project will construct a roof over this open area,” she said, motioning to the open space. “I don’t think an effective way to serve the younger community members is to simply put them in a room with a TV when it rains, so we changed that.”

The Salvation Army has occupied its Mission District building since 1924, Smith said, and the last major facility remodel was 45 years ago.

“The project was envisioned with the SF Metro Board and the local leadership board in the Mission in regards to making this space and facility more relevant to the needs of the neighborhood,” said Major Froderberg, the Salvation Army’s emergency disaster services coordinator.

“Approximately $1.5 million has been budgeted for the construction of the new gymnasium,” said Smith. The construction has been made possible by several donors, Smith said, in particular one donor who wished to remain anonymous.

The new facility will serve multiple purposes, hosting programs in athletics and for youths and seniors.

“Our business is people, and it’s the desire of the Salvation Army to improve our facilities for the population we serve and to reach out to meet the special needs of the community,” said Froderberg.

“The facility is meant to accommodate more people, both small and large groups.”

Construction of the new gym is expected to be finished between November 2012 and January 2013. When it is done, the Salvation Army will host an open house for the community. Hours for the new facility will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in summer and 2 to 6 p.m. the rest of the year.

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  1. where exactly is this going to be? is it related to the recently construction that began on the old gas station at the corner of 23rd and valencia? or is it limited to the existing playground space?

    1. Hi there,
      The entire existing outdoor playground space will be under construction.

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