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New CAS Palace

September 22, 2007 permalink

Children's Aid has another new palace, this one in Oshawa for Durham Region, at a cost of $17 million. Readers are invited to provide a picture of the facility. "A new clinic has exam rooms for doctors and dentists who treat the kids in the CAS's care." We don't know what the rooms will really be used for. In the case of the Norris family, CAS suspended dental care for a boy needing braces.



CAS opens doors to its new home

Wed Sep 19, 2007, By Erin Hatfield

Durham CAS opening
Jason Liebregts / Metroland
OSHAWA -- Chelsey Merriman, front, from Whitby plays with the Bellwood Public School Bell Choir during the official opening of the Durham Children's Aid Society's new facility in Oshawa. Sep. 18, 2007

DURHAM -- Greeting clients and staff with bright blue-tiled columns, purple- patched floors and a giant fish tank, the brains behind the Children Aid Society's (CAS) new home hope it will be an inviting and pleasant place.

Located on Airport Boulevard in Oshawa, the building has playrooms complete with books and toys, supervised visitation rooms and a large meeting room. There is a life skills facility for kids in care, where they can learn to cook, do laundry and socialize. A new clinic has exam rooms for doctors and dentists who treat the kids in the CAS's care. On the upper three floors there are offices for the 380 full-time-equivalent employees.

Outside sits a shiny new playground, donated by Auto Workers Community Credit Union.

The move to the new building is the culmination of four-and-a-half years of planning by the board of directors and senior staff and its opening ceremony was on Sept. 18.

Wanda Secord started as the executive director of Durham CAS on Aug. 1. She explained the CAS was able to consolidate three offices formerly spread out across Durham in the new building.

"We were all over the place," Ms. Secord said. "They all needed to be run out of the same office; it just made better sense in terms of service."

The building cost just less than $17 million.

"That sounds like a lot of money, but when you consider the fact that we were renting in three other locations and having leases, as leases go up they can be very expensive," Ms. Secord said. "Over time the cost of this building will be less than the various leases we had."

It took a while to come together, but Oshawa Mayor John Gray said his council nurtured the construction of the new building for some time, first looking at a downtown location and then selling the CAS the land on Airport Boulevard.

"It is a gorgeous building," Mayor Gray said. "The beauty of it is that it is along a major bus route."

But, more than the building, Mayor Gray said he is proud of the work the CAS does.

"Sometimes parents aren't as responsible as they should be and that is where the CAS has to step in," Mayor Gray said. "It is a sad commentary on society, but yet we actually have an organization that can help pick up the pieces."

Former executive director James Dubray, who received much credit for the new building during the opening ceremony, said he is proud of the structure.

"I think it is a great building and it will serve children well," he said. "It will continue to do that for many years."

Source: Metroland Durham Region

Addendum: Here is a picture of the building from the Durham CAS website.