Developers, architects, construction companies and trades have been so supportive of local groups devoted to caring for people in need of a home, food or medical attention. And they still are, despite current economic uncertainties.
Wellspring Calgary is uniquely devoted to the non-medical needs of cancer patients, offering a comprehensive range of evidence-informed programs, resources and support for anyone living with cancer and their significant caregivers.
Its Carma House in Montgomery was built largely thanks to the generosity of Carma Developers (now Brookfield Residential). But the 4,000-square-foot building is totally inadequate for today’s needs, so executive director Patti Morris and her board have been working over the past few years to raise funds for a new Wellspring in the city’s south.
Morris conducted a pilot project in the Auburn Bay community, thanks to the generosity of Cedarglen Homes, that allowed Wellspring to use a show home during non-visiting hours. When that was eventually auctioned off, the home builder donated the proceeds as a multi-year gift to the organization.
Randy O’Dell House is now completed and ready to open its doors on Oct. 8 in Seton, behind the South Health Campus.
The organization set a goal to raise $12.9 million for the new facility and hired Pamella Simpson, who had retired from a fundraising position at Mount Royal University, as its campaign director.
Funding was kick-started with a $1-million donation by Jack Anderson and his wife, Wendy Ovaris; $500,000 from a private family foundation; and $4 million as a gift by the late Randy O’Dell to leave a legacy for the city that had been so good to him.
Of the total target, $6.4 million is for the building fixtures and technology, $5.7 million to deliver the necessary services and $1 million will be used to top up Wellspring’s depleted endowment fund.
Morris had known Cole Harris, president of Centron Group, as a board member of Development Disability Resource Centre when she was its executive director, and called on him after she started with Wellspring to help reorganize the interior space she initially shared with Operation Eyesight in Parkdale.
When Centron was developing Fountain Court at the intersection of Glenmore Trail and Blackfoot Trail S.E., Harris offered Wellspring space there to serve people in the southeast. Then, through Centron Cares, its program to help not-for-profit organizations with their facilities requirements, the company took on the task of managing the construction process of the new home and recruiting trades and suppliers to build the best possible facility at reduced pricing.
S2 Architecture, which had designed Carma House, was selected as architect, Shearer Design did the interiors and more than 30 other Calgary companies joined the team offering gifts-in-kind. O’Dell Electric staff were big contributors, volunteering to install lighting during their weekends.
It turned out to be an amazing structure as the first of its kind in Western Canada to be built to the new WELL Building Standards, a performance-based system to measure, certify and monitor a space’s effect on the health of occupants.
Brian Corkum, S2 lead on the project, says it was a sensitive design on a commercial building that had to keep a residential feel to ensure a comfortable, cosy feeling for all who entered it. Air, lighting and acoustics played a big part in the comprehensive, co-ordinated team effort by all of the consultants along with their client.
Patti and her new centre manager, Niki Fehr, are excited about the opportunity Randy O’Dell House will offer Wellspring to provide programs, resources and support to more people, as a growing number today are being diagnosed with different forms of cancer.