Archbishop Richard Smith blesses the chapel in the new Catholic Social Services administration building Dec. 8.


Archbishop Richard Smith blesses the chapel in the new Catholic Social Services administration building Dec. 8.

December 21, 2015

In a bid to provide a dignified workplace to its employees, Catholic Social Services has moved its administrative office to a renovated building in west Edmonton.

The three-storey building, at 12431 Stony Plain Rd., features office space for 70 employees, an attractive staff lunchroom and, for the first time, a chapel.

The chapel, blessed by Archbishop Richard Smith Dec. 8, is a place for staff to pray and meditate before they start their day or during breaks. Mass will be celebrated once a month.

The new building, which cost "a bit more than $4 million," will house support ministries such as accounting, human resources, IT and maintenance.

"We were running out of space in our previous building so we wanted to be able to make sure that we could maintain the integrity of all of our administrative ministries," explains Stephen Carattini, chief executive officer of CSS.

"We speak of human dignity at our organization and that also goes for the people who work within our organization. Throughout our agency we are looking to ensure that all staff, all volunteers, have a dignified place to work."

The west building has about 20,000 square feet, compared to the old one on 99th Street that had 12,000 square feet.

"There are two rooms that are meaningful to us. The first is the chapel; the second is the staff lunchroom," explained the CEO. "In the south building the staff lunchroom unfortunately was in the basement. It was a very small windowless room and not very nice."

Nimet Somji, development specialist for 13 years, said she hopes to use the chapel regularly. "I'm looking forward to come and pray here."

Somji described the new building as amazing. "It's a renovated building but feels like new."

Bruce Klanke, vice president of community engagement, said the chapel is the focal point of the building.

"We have being given permission by the archbishop to keep the Blessed Sacrament in reserve here at the chapel, which is wonderful," Klanke said.

The new building is more spacious and Klanke loves it. "We were sitting on top of each other at the other building. We even had some desks in the hallway."

"I think the space is also more pleasant for our staff. The lunchroom is a brilliantly re-designed space versus what we had in the past, which was a very small, windowless room."

The old south side office at 8815-99 St. might, if needed, be used to process Syrian refugees or simply sold.