Clearing the way for new home

Demolition crews will soon start knocking down the Red Deer Catholic Social Services building to make way for a $4.5-million three-storey building.

Demolition crews will soon start knocking down the Red Deer Catholic Social Services building to make way for a $4.5-million three-storey building.

Catholic Social Services representative Marc Barylo said on Friday that it’s anticipated that demolition will begin within two weeks at the site at 5104 48th Ave.

Demolition would have started sooner but crews discovered asbestos inside the basement walls, so a hazardous materials team had to come in to remove it first, Barylo said.

Scott Builders is the building contractor. The 26,000-square-foot building will sport a design that will see the top floors cantilevered over the ground floor to create a wide sidewalk with room for benches and planters. A cantilever is a beam anchored at only one end.

Berry Architecture and Associates designed the building that includes an open-air rooftop patio that will serve as a staff lunchroom and meeting area.

While the construction is going on for about 15 months, staff will work from the former city RCMP detachment building at 4602 51st Ave.

Painting, computer connections and other renovations/cleanup were done before staff moved there in late June.

“We’re happy to have a place and it’s not too far from our existing office,” said Barylo. “It makes it convenient for our clients and the bus service is nearby.”

About 160 employees are now working inside the former detachment. In total, more than 300 staff work in the region.

“A lot of our staff work outside of the office so they’re in there for a couple of hours to do the paperwork and then they leave,” said Barylo. Catholic Social Services holds various workshops and will continue.

Catholic Charities, Alberta’s parent organization of Catholic Social Services, is paying for the building project.

“We’re going to have to take out a mortgage,” Barylo said.

Catholic Social Services does receive money from those that use its space for various programs. But that will not pay the entire cost of the building, he said.

The multi-function social service agency serves people of all faiths and cultures throughout Central and Northeast Alberta. Founded in 1961, the agency has grown to deliver more than 100 programs.

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