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Salvation Army marches ahead with construction, renovation

Organization still hoping for donations of $200,000

April 02, 2012|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Work has begun on the new office and gymnasium building at the Salvation Army on West Franklin Street.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Despite being nearly $200,000 short of its fundraising goal, The Salvation Army has started construction of a $1.8 million project in Hagerstown that includes new offices, a gymnasium and renovation of the organization’s existing women’s and children’s shelter.

Salvation Army Maj. Robert Lyle said Monday he was hopeful that donors would step up to contribute the rest of the money.

“We do have a lot of folks in this community who are sympathetic to what we’re doing,” Lyle said. “This will impact the community for the next 100 years. We want the message out there that we’re here to change lives and this is how we’re going to do it.”

Heavy equipment operators were busy Monday morning working at the construction site to the rear of The Salvation Army headquarters at 534 W. Franklin St. If everything goes as planned, Lyle said, construction will wrap up in early August.

The Salvation Army has been in its existing administration building on West Franklin Street for 40 years, Lyle said. Another portion of that building serves as a women’s and children’s shelter with 28 beds.

“Most nights, every bed is slept in,” he said.

Overall, the project involves building new offices, a gymnasium with a basketball court, and a computer lab on an old playground at the rear of the current administrative offices, Lyle said.

He said the last $200,000 that The Salvation Army is trying to raise will be used to renovate the existing women’s and children’s shelter to hold an additional 15 beds.

Lyle said the shelter served more than 400 women and children last year. Some of those included battered women, he said, but most had been evicted or thrown out by a boyfriend.

Shelter tenants are given chores and have to show proof that they’re actively trying to find another home, Lyle said. Those who stay prepare their own meals with food provided by The Salvation Army.

Lyle said the women and children also have the option to eat at a soup kitchen that The Salvation Army operates on George Street behind the administrative offices.

To donate to The Salvation Army, call 301-733-2440.

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