A high-tech, videogame-laden Army recruiting center in Philadelphia that was often the center of controversy and protests is shutting down at the end of July.
The Army Experience Center cost approximately $12 million to build and was launched in August of 2008. The 14,500 square foot facility, located in the Franklin Mills Mall, was consistently targeted with protests led by a coalition of national peace groups that operated the website Shutdown the Army Experience Center. The activists felt that the Army Experience Center glorified killing and depicted war as a game with its realistic simulators.
The protest group claimed victory, stating that the Army center was closed at least partly due to its efforts, noting that it had another planned protest in the works for Saturday, June 19.
A Philadelphia Inquirer article indicated that at least 236 recruits had joined the Army through the center and that over 40,000 people in total had visited it.
The Army claimed that the installation was never meant to be permanent. The technology used in the center could be adopted in recruiting centers in other areas of the country.
Philly was chosen as the location for the storefront because the city, along with most of New Jersey, had “the lowest propensity toward military service in the nation."