RENOVATION: The Emerald Preschool and Community Kindergarten will increase its capacity with a government grant.
RENOVATION: The Emerald Preschool and Community Kindergarten will increase its capacity with a government grant.

Emerald kindy halfway to million-dollar renovation

AN EMERALD kindergarten is halfway to getting a $2.7 million upgrade and increasing its capacity by 50 per cent within the next two years.

Emerald Preschool and Community Kindergarten was awarded a $1.4 million Federal Government grant to go towards renovating its property and building a community multipurpose building.

Central Highlands Regional Council, which owns and helps maintain the kindergarten, will attempt to raise the remaining $1.3 million.

Director Carrie Jones said once construction was complete, the kindergarten would be able to increase its offers from 100 children to between 130 and 150.

“I’m very excited about that,” she said. “Most years we have 150 on our wait list.”

“We’re an older building here, so it’ll be a complete rebuild in stages.

“We can use local builders and not disrupt the continuity of education for the children and families we already have there.”

Ms Jones said the entire project was expected to take a little longer than two years. The first stage is an extension of the property and the second is the replacing of the kindergarten building.

Ex-president Katie Ritson helped plan the project several years ago. She said it would be “incredible”.

“This will add the extra space that we need, give parents more choices, and allow us to employ more staff.

“An upgrade of the facilities will allow us to focus on teaching kids instead of maintaining an old building.”

Central Highlands Regional Council mayor Kerry Hayes welcomed the Federal Government contribution.

“Early childhood education is a key liveability factor in all of our communities,” he said.

“I congratulate the kindergarten’s committee who prepared the funding submission.

“Council will be looking at various other sources of funding to achieve the total amount.”


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