HDC groundbreaking

Healthy Dent County Board of Directors, along with City of Salem, and several other partners and businesses were on hand for the groundbreaking for the renovation project,

Photo by Melissa DuBois

Healthy Dent County Board of Directors, along with the City of Salem, and several other partners and businesses were on hand for the groundbreaking of the renovation project.

In early 2018 Healthy Dent County embarked on a capital campaign to expand the Salem Community Center @ the Armory by adding a new regulation-size gymnasium to the north end of the building.

As part of the capital campaign to raise funds, HDC was chosen to receive $350,000 in tax credits through the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP).

The total raised for this project exceeds $850,000 with some funds still needed to secure to add athletic flooring to the gymnasium. Locally owned Cahill’s Construction, Inc. was the successful bidder and will be the general contractor for this project.

That plan came to fruition Thursday as Healthy Dent County Board of Directors, along with the City of Salem, and several other partners and businesses were on hand for the groundbreaking of the renovation project.

The benefit to Dent County residents will be a regulation-size basketball gymnasium as well as expansion of the Fitness Center that will provide recreational and health benefits for all ages.

“The community needs a gymnasium to provide a facility for expanded programs,” explained Sherry Lea, Executive Director of Healthy Dent County, in a 2018 interview.

“A community gym will allow Healthy Dent County to expand its already successful programs to meet the needs of Dent County residents in promoting and maintaining healthy lifestyles. This new facility will also enable the City of Salem Parks and Recreation Department to enhance and ad additional programming.”

While the local school system has buildings with gyms, the community’s need for gym space far exceeds what the schools can handle. With all of the school sports practices and game times, there is never enough time available for community use. The Salem Community Center @ the Armory does have a multi-purpose area, but it is not regulation basketball sized and with the many different programs that need the space, HDC has run out of room to accommodate both community and recreation needs.

The new gym will also be used by the City of Salem for sports programs.

The Salem Community Center @ the Armory was renovated in 2014 and includes a complete fitness center with 24-hour access, group exercise classes, cardio equipment and a full weight room with a wide array of fitness machines. The fitness center has 500 members that pay a low monthly fee to participate. The center also has a 5,400 square foot event space where weddings, receptions, reunions, dinners and fundraising events are held. A wide array of indoor sports activities are held daily including pickleball, volleyball, ping pong, walking track and larger fitness events. With the addition of a new gym some of the sports activities can be moved from the current multi‐purpose room to the gym to allow for more consecutive activities and more community members being able to enjoy the facility.

“We realize the addition of a new structure in the rear of the building will create fewer parking spaces for the facility, and will be working to address this issue,” said Lea. “We believe there will be adequate parking around the facility for most daily events and activities. The parking lot located directly across from the facility on Rolla Road can be used for parking as well.”

For additional information on this or any Healthy Dent County project call 729‐8163 or e‐mail sherry@salemcommunitycenter.org