The new home for the Salt Lake Area Chapter of the American Red Cross was dedicated this week.

Actually, it moved into the former McKay LDS Ward building at 1391 S. Park St. last December, but Thursday's dedication ceremony made everything official.The building's new name is the Richard G. Hinckley Center of the American Red Cross, in honor of the past local chapter chairman, who was instrumental in obtaining $31,000 in donated services and materials to renovate the facility.

Bishop Glenn L. Pace, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gave the dedicatory prayer. Bishop Joseph Federal, of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake, and the Rev. Theodore Fields, of New Pilgrim Baptist Church, offered the invocation and benediction.

Pepper Martin, chairman of the Red Cross chapter board, said the Red Cross chapter moved out of its old building near the University of Utah after closing its blood center in 1986.

While the center was open, the chapter had a paid staff of about 100, but after the closure that number dropped to 12. That made the old building too big and expensive, so it was sold to the university.

The LDS Church wasn't using the McKay Ward building and agreed to lease it for $1 per year, provided the neighbors didn't mind. So the Red Cross canvassed the neighborhood and found a warm welcome, Martin said.

The building will house the staff to teach the chapter's classes in first aid, water safety and other subjects, administer its utility assistance program and lend help in disasters.

One relatively new Red Cross program is its AIDS education project, which, among other things, works with minority communities on AIDS prevention.

And Martin said the chapter will set up a task force this year to study the needs of the increasing number of elderly people who live alone.