Preschool to rise from courts

Phoenix Preschool children and staff check out the new building site. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Phoenix Preschool is moving to a new build planned at the Ashburton College netball courts.

The preschool is set to take flight with work on a new purpose-built facility expected to start soon.

The move will take the preschool from its current location on Walnut Avenue to a new site on the corner of Belt and Middle roads.

The Ministry of Education will manage the project and will fund it as a replacement preschool on a like-for-like basis.

Local business Bradford Building is in charge of the build and Phoenix will use accumulated funds to make further enhancements.

Phoenix Preschool board chair Kylie Grieve said it was exciting times and the start of a new era.

‘‘We’re finally there after a long consent process and we can’t wait to see things get started.’’

She said the new site had been reclassified for early childhood education and work was expected to start once the current lockdown has been lifted.

A tentative finish date was March next year and the preschool would operate on its current site until then.

Phoenix had been at that site for 37 years, but the move would mean a brand new facility and more space.

The new preschool will be built on one netball court, another will be used for the outdoor play area and a third will offer room for future expansion.

The area in front of the netball pavilion will provide a dedicated parking area for preschool parents dropping children off.

Mrs Grieve said Phoenix was taking the opportunity to extend its capacity to 50 children and had much of the funds needed for enhancements to the plan.

Enhancements include a separate staff/non-contact room, office space for the centre manager, reception area and an extended sleep room for under three year olds.

She said the fundraising committee was already committed to helping raise further funds for the development of the outdoor area.

-By Mick Jensen