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An organization that gives others hope for a new beginning will get a fresh start of its own soon.

Eden Salvation Army officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday at 316 Morgan Road for its new 9,300-square foot facility.The new headquarters, estimated to cost about $450,000, will house a kitchen, five classrooms, four offices, an activity room and a chapel, said Lt. Robert Lyle, who along with his wife, Karen, are commanders for the Eden Salvation Army.

``The building is designed for the purpose of the Salvation Army, but it's a community building too. We will be able to accommodate people during emergencies such as floods or hurricanes,' Robert Lyle said.

The chapel will seat 115 people while a basement area will hold up to 500 people, according to Lyle.

The structure will be on the same grounds as the old Salvation Army Citadel before it was destroyed by a fire in February 1990. The organization currently conducts its feeding, counseling and emergency assistance programs in the old Eden courthouse building on Boone Road.

Residents of Rockingham County came to the rescue of the Salvation Army last year when more than $700,000 was pledged during a fund raising campaign for the new building. So far, $220,000 has be collected, said Lyle.

``People will be able to pay their pledges up to 1994, but we're going ahead with the building. All money raised will go toward the project. Some money will be used to buy new furniture,' he said.

Lyle said he expects construction to start the second week in December. Bids will be taken from contractors later this month.

``The groundbreaking was scheduled before we could get the contracts in,' he said.

A native of Paris, Texas, Lyle and his wife came to Eden in June. They took over the organization after the retirement of Maj. Mae Harris, who had been at the helm for 30 years.

The couple recently made some changes in the Salvation Army's services.

Instead of handling social work clients on a daily basis, they have designated Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for those services. The office handles emergencies on Monday and Fridays.

``The reason we changed the hours is because we want to be able to spend some time with the clients instead of rushing them out. This way, we can sit down and show them how to manage their money. A lot of reasons people come here is because they don't know how to manage their money,' said Lyle.

The husband-and-wife team also are planning to relocate the Army's Thrift Store.

``The current building leaks and is cool. We are trying to find ways to save money so we can use it for something else, like helping people with shelter, medicine and bills,' he said.


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