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Salvation Army getting closer to moving into new building

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MASSENA - The Massena Salvation Army is getting closer to moving into their new Salvation Army Worship and Service Center.

Capt. Cynthia Crowsen said the foundation for the new building is being worked on and they’ve accepted delivery of the five different modules that will make up the center. If all goes according to plan, they tentatively hope to be in their new building by the end of April or beginning of May.

Danko Construction is doing the foundation, and ModSpace, a company from Pennsylvania, will place the modules on the slab once it is completely cured.

Danko Construction is working “as fast as they can, but as safely as they can” because of the nature of the ground at 178 Victory Road, where the new building will stand, directly across from their current offices that they rent from the Massena Housing Authority on Russell Road, Capt. Crowsen said.

She said a previous structure on that site sunk, and contractors are ensuring there won’t be a repeat when the new building is completed. The site previously housed the Salvation Army administrative offices, food pantry and chapel but was demolished several years ago.

“Even from the beginning, the original bid put in was not for the way the foundation is actually being built. Once they started doing the design they realized there was more clay in the ground,” she said.

As a result, soil samples were taken to ensure the building would continue to stand years down the road.

“Danko was very helpful with us to make sure we got the proper soil samples. We want to make sure this building is going to last. It’s for the community of Massena. We want to make sure it will last for a very long time,” Capt. Crowsen said.

The company has also been working around the winter weather.

“Danko was out there up until the point that there was no visibility. They covered it up and the next day were back to work. They are wonderful. We have wonderful interactions with them,” Capt. Crowsen said.

The modular buildings that will make up the center aren’t the traditional variety, she said. The new building will be three times the size of the current 8,400-square-foot structure and will hold a chapel, food pantry area and storage area, gymnasium/multi-purpose room, several classrooms, a commercial kitchen and offices.

“They offer an updated version of modular buildings. They’re room by room. The buildings on the plot (of land) are half of a room, not half of a building. They don’t do the old style. They’re room by room. It allows them to change the structure of the room as we have designed it,” she said.

“Each of our offices is designed, the food pantry is designed to benefit all clients who come in to use it, as well as Martha (McLean). It will be easier for her to stock the shelves,” she said.

“Our bread room will function very well in there. Our chapel will be very functional. The gym space can be used for multiple purposes,” according to the captain. “All of the things were designed individually for what would benefit us. We were able to design what we wanted. They were able to put them together.”

She said they wanted to ensure that the building was done correctly for the north country and the Massena community. Among their considerations was having a pitched roof rather than a flat roof because of snow concerns.

“We talked with them about all of these things. We made sure, when were designing the building, it was very specific to what we need here in the north country, and especially here in Massena. They were very hands-on with us here in Massena and with the officers of the divisional headquarters making sure we knew what the community of Massena and surrounding areas needed. They were able to make adjustments as we went along,” Capt. Crowsen said.

With the modular design, they can also raise funds to add more space if necessary in the future.

“There are a lot of areas that we can adjust and grow. With ModSpace we can add on to it in different ways,” she said.

They broke ground in November and had originally planned to have a grand opening on April 26. But that was pushed back because of the harsh winter and the need to obtain soil samples. The grand opening will now be held in the fall.

“That way the grass will be completed and the sidewalks will be in. We’ll be in the building and operating out of it well before then, prior to the summer,” she said. “We didn’t want to push it and then have to rush construction because we wanted it to be secure and sound. We wanted to make sure the construction crews had plenty of time.”

Once the new building is up, it will be for the community, Capt. Crowsen said.

“It won’t be a building that just opened. It will be The Massena Salvation Army. It will be our building as part of this community. It will represent our community and The Salvation Army working in our community. We want to make sure it benefits the Massena Salvation Army, but also the Massena area. People are welcome to come in and enjoy the services and that programs we have,” she said.

“We know we will move eventually, but we want this building to be here far beyond when we leave. We want the new construction to last. We want to make sure the work put into it would be something the community would have for a very long time,” she said.

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