Children give new learning centre big thumbs up

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 05:00 17/12/2012

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A rejuvenated Barnardos Georgetown Early Learning Centre has won approval from Invercargill youngsters, despite the centre not yet being officially opened.

The revamped facility will be formally unveiled today but some children have already tried out the new features and given them the thumbs up, head teacher Kathy Hunter-Ward said.

The centre was formerly run from a modified old house at the site, and a complete upgrade was needed to make it future-proof.

"It had been converted and converted and converted. It was just easier to build a brand new purpose-built centre," Ms Hunter-Ward said.

"And, I mean, it's for the future too."

The house was demolished and a $400,000 building constructed in its place.

This cost was covered by Barnardos New Zealand, as well as grants from the Invercargill Licensing Trust and the Community Trust of Southland.

To help keep the bills manageable, parents volunteered to garden and landscape the outdoors area, while community service workers were brought in to construct a brand new sandpit, she said.

The outdoors area also featured a garden for children to grow their own vegetables, a wild jungle area and a playground.

During the five-month construction period, Barnardos was relocated to Tramway Playcentre, which meant closing two mornings a week while the playcentre was in session.

Now that the building was completed and signed off, Barnardos could operate all day and had plenty of room for more children, Mrs Hunter-Ward said.

An official ceremony and barbecue will be held today to launch the new building.

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