Catholic building gets major overhaul

Red Deer Catholic Social Services should soon have more leg room when delivering its programs to Central Albertans.

Red Deer Catholic Social Services should soon have more leg room when delivering its programs to Central Albertans.

On Monday, Red Deer’s municipal planning commission approved plans for a major expansion of the Catholic Charities Society building at 5104 48th Ave. These include the addition of two floors to the single-storey building, as well as extensive renovations to its interior and exterior.

Marc Barylo, vice-president with Catholic Social Services, said later that the extra space is desperately needed.

“It’s very crowded and it just hasn’t been workable,” he said, describing how staff have had to share offices, counselling facilities are inadequate, community groups often can’t get meeting space and the building isn’t designed for handicapped users.

Meanwhile, demand for Catholic Social Services’ programs has been growing, said Barylo.

“I’m sure there must be hundreds of clients that would be coming out of that building every month receiving services: immigrants, refugees, child welfare, guardians, persons with physical and developmental disabilities, people coming for counselling services — it runs the gamut.”

The two new floors will provide an additional 14,000 square feet, with more office and meeting space and improved sound-proofing, said Barylo.

Construction is slated to start around April 1, and he’s been given an estimate of six months for the work to be completed. The plan is to use the building during construction, provided it’s not determined to be unsafe.

“If we have to shift some services for a short period of time out of that building, we need to know that in advance so arrangements can be made.”

The capital cost of the project is expected to be between $3.1 million and $3.2 million — significantly less than anticipated a few years ago.

Architect George Berry told the municipal planning commission that the building will be fully handicapped accessible, with an elevator to be installed.

The commission also heard that the renovated building will feature coral stone, acrylic stucco, metal accents and blue tinted windows.

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