Renovations still ongoing at the Warming Centre

Merna Emara
Staff Writer

Renovations to the Out of the Cold warming centre are still ongoing. The building, owned by the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board (RRDSSAB), is currently operating as an overnight warming centre, but will be renovated to accommodate more individuals in the future.

Dan McCormick, chief administrative officer at RRDSSAB, said just before the winter the rear roof of the church has been changed from flat to peaked.

McCormick said they are also renovating what used to be the offices at the church and the basement that Sunday school rooms operated from in order to expand the Safe Beds Program that is provided by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

The [offices] are going to be converted to five safe beds and the back is going to be a common living area,” McCormick said. “There’ll be a dining room setup and two washrooms with shower rooms attached.”

On the main flour of the church, McCormick said they will have six self-contained mini apartment to put the six transition beds in, totalling 11 transition beds in the building.

There’ll be a centralized living area, a centralized kitchen, and then two washrooms with showers too,” McCormick said. “So three bedrooms on one side of the building and three on the other side with the washrooms being in the middle of the common area.”

McCormick said they are also looking to add two offices for the staff working at the centre. Downstairs, there will be two nursing stations and another washroom.

The downstairs is being configured so that one of the bedrooms could actually be segregated off with the washroom,” McCormick said. “It could provide an isolation area if we required it, then the other four bedrooms would have to use the two upstairs washrooms.”

Finally, the main basement which was the church area will be the ongoing warming centre. McCormick said RRDSSAB is looking at installing a kitchen there.

In the offseason months, that will be used as a gathering centre and an opportunity for people to come in and take part in other programming by other agencies,” McCormick said. “But during the winter, it will be a warming centre.”

We’re just waiting patiently to see how our tenders come in,” McCormick said. “We’re looking to try to move that forward. CMHA would have possession, hopefully by April 30, and then once the warming centre closes, we’ll be putting out tenders to renovate the rest of the building.”