Eight years of fundraising and planning has led Catalina Community Services to the brink of a new facility.

The social service agency, teaming with Pima County, hopes to start construction on an estimated $1.3 million facility this fall. Bids are being opened at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug 12.

Eight years ago, CCS began a building fund drive to help purchase a new facility. It was able to raise about $500,000.

"We would have had a very difficult time raising a million and a half dollars," said Al Trice, chairman of the building committee. "CCS has no assets, so to get a loan would be difficult."

In stepped Pima County, which has provided about $1 million from neighborhood reinvestment funds, community development grants and federal stimulus funding. With that, the county will own the building and the property.

With Pima County as a partner, more money can be put towards the community and its needs, Trice said.

"It means we don't pay rent," Trice said. "So that all the fundraising that we will do can now be used for assistance to the people in the Catalina area."

CCS has used its current, cramped quarters located at 3414 E. Golder Ranch Road for the past 13 years. From that location, it has run resources such as Catalina's food bank and clothing bank, along with hosting health clinics, caregiver support and English classes.

"We will have the ability to serve more people needing assistance," said Trice. "We will be able to have larger inventories and handle more people easily."

The new facility is taking the place of Golder Ranch Fire District's former building located at 3535 E. Hawser Street. The building once used to house fire trucks and firefighters was torn down, but the administration building has been spared and will be used for the new clothing bank.

On the Hawser site, a 5,000-square-foot building will be built, allowing for a health clinic, administration offices and a meeting room. Trice hopes that, within a few years, funds would be available for a second phase that includes a 7,500-square-foot senior center.

Keith Graham, CCS's vice president / general manager, can sense the anticipation is growing as CCS gets closer to building a new structure.

"Even in economic tough times, we are really psyched about what we will be able to offer this community," Graham said. "It's a really exciting time around here right now. The enthusiasm is building. The staff here and the community can't wait to move into a new facility and begin work and be able to reach out to even more constituents."

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