Quake-hit preschool struggles to cope
Sydenham Community Preschool is losing staff and children after spending a year operating from a church hall.
The preschool has no idea whether it will ever be able to return to the Christchurch City Council-owned building it has occupied for 16 years.
But head teacher Rhonda Duncraft said it was vital that the preschool moved back to its suburb because the need for a community-based, not- for-profit school in the area was high.
Last year's June 13 earthquakes forced staff and children from the Huxley St building and, soon after, the preschool moved into a temporary home at St Anne's Church in St Martins.
Duncraft said she did not expect to be at the church a year later and was calling on the council to provide the preschool with information on the status of the building.
"We've been loyal tenants for a long, long time but, when it comes to the nitty-gritty, it's closed doors."
She said she understood the predicament the council was in with the number of buildings it had to check, but she wanted to know when to expect some information.
Church leaders had installed heat pumps in the hall and had fixed the toilets, but it was still not ideal, Duncraft said. "We have no decent playground."
Staff had to pack up all their equipment, including tables, mats and toys, at the end of each day because other community groups used the hall at night, she said.
They also had to share the toilets with adults attending meetingsduring the day.
The location was having an impact on staff, with one resigning and two others indicating they would leave at the end of the year if no other premises could be found.
The number of children attending the centre has dropped. Before the June quakes the preschool's roll was full and it had a waiting list. Now it has vacancies and no waiting list.
Duncraft said many parents did not have a car and were not able to walk their children the extra 1.2 kilometres to the church.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you travel by bus in Christchurch?Related story: More bus shelters needed in Christchurch