OGDEN — After nearly a year of construction, Catholic Community Services has completed an ambitious expansion, opening a new building in West Ogden that officials say will allow the nonprofit to better serve Weber County residents in need.
Kearstin Cantrell, marketing manager for CCS, said a new, state-of-the-art building at 2504 F Ave. in Ogden has opened. Cantrell said a ribbon cutting will be held at 10 a.m. on July 12.
The organization, which provides a host of services for Weber County’s homeless and hungry population, had for years been operating out of a hodgepodge of a building that was once Hopkins Elementary School. The school served west Ogden families from 1918 to 1977 before closing. The building was more than a century old and featured numerous ill-conceived add-ons and remodels. CCS officials said it wasn't efficient or safe enough for the nonprofit's clientele or employees.
"That was an old elementary school and it was built to function as that," said CCS Basic Needs Director Randy Chappell. "It just wasn't ideal for what we do."
The building suffered from many years of neglect before it came into CCS' hands. Portions of it were actually condemned and one area had to be torn down because it was too dilapidated to repair. Multiple additions over the years led to a disjointed layout with wasted space, hallways and doorways that made it difficult for pallets of food to be moved and a pantry that didn't have sufficient space. A lack of parking was also an issue.
Nearly two years ago, the Ogden City Council approved an amendment to the city’s West Ogden Community Plan and a separate rezone of the CCS property, facilitating the development plan for the new, 18,000 square foot new facility.
In addition to its three hallmark programs — which include Utah’s largest regional food bank, a mobile food pantry and an initiative that helps low-income families with infants — CCS also operates as a community center. The Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank is now running at the new building, an addition to it functioning as a new community center. CCS often holds public meetings, aimed at helping needy residents of Weber County with a variety of classes, free tax services, resource fairs, socials and more.
Chappell said the new digs will ultimately help CCS better carry out its mission.
"We're going to be able to serve more people and get more food out," Chappell said. "It's just a much better space for us and it's tailored to our operation."
The building cost $5.5 million, with funds for construction coming from private donations and local foundations, Chappell said.
Cantrell said with the new building now open and running, CCS is switching back to a grocery-store style client choice pantry. A curbside pickup operation had been in place since shortly after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its annual American Community Survey update released in September 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 6.9% of Weber County’s population subsisted at or below the federal poverty level in 2019. Income below the poverty line is $12,880 or less for an individual and $26,700 or less for a family of four, according to the U.S. Department Health and Human Services.
The national poverty rate was at 10.5% that year.