Speedy construction for Te Awamutu kindergarten

23:04, Jul 09 2014

Te Awamutu is set to get an energy-efficient kindy in record time, thanks to a build system "kind of like giant Lego pieces".

Work on the $320,000 prefabricated Creators@Waipa Christian kindergarten started last week at the Swarbrick Drive site - but the construction phase won't be long.

The 170 square metre centre is due to be put together in just eight weeks and is built from coated, insulated steel panels.

It is designed for energy efficiency and a quick build, Phil Smith of Collingridge and Smith Architects said.

"It's a modular build, kind of like giant Lego pieces, which means a very short construction period.

"It's exciting for us to be using this super-efficient system in New Zealand for the first time."


Smith has been recognised for another environmentally-focused childcare centre design - Te Mirumiru Childhood Education Centre in Kawakawa, Northland.

The prefabricated panels were a cost-effective and fast option, Creators director Rick Fourie said.

"Your external and internal finishings are already done.

"They just put it together and, once those walls are up, you don't have to paint it."

Sustainable business in terms of people, planet and profit was part of the organisation's strategy, so the new building's design was driven by the "planet" aspect. The centre will include natural ventilation, insulation and low energy lighting.

Paints and other materials thought to trigger respiratory problems have been replaced by non-toxic, low volatile organic compound (VOC) materials, and solar panels on the roof will produce most of the building's electricity.

"It's our first centre in Te Awamutu and outside of Hamilton. So we're really excited to connect with the local community there," Fourie said.

Creators@Waipa will be licensed for 40 children, have six teaching staff and offer 20 hours free early childhood education. That will include two-year-olds as well as the usual three to five-year-olds, Fourie said.

Creators is founded on Christian values and uses the Reggio Emilia approach, where learning originates from the child's ideas and interests.

Waikato Times