Thursday, May 30, 2024

Kindy expansion for Ballarat west

Kindergarten services will soon be expanded in Ballarat’s west with the extension of the Lucas Community Hub to begin soon.

The tender for the construction of the expansion project has been awarded to Ballarat company CIQ Construction Management, with work expected to begin this month.

It is expected the project will be complete in time for the 2025 kindergarten year.

The project has received $1.5 million from the Victorian Government’s Building Blocks Capacity Grants program and up to $1 million from the City of Ballarat Council.

The extension will include an additional 33-place kindergarten room and outdoor space, which will ensure the City of Ballarat has the appropriate infrastructure to cater for the expanded three-and-four-year old kindergarten program and continue to offer the option of sessional kindergarten.

As part of the project, the entrance to the facility will be altered to improve access and the foyer reconfigured to improve circulation. An additional staff planning room will provide improved staff administration space, while a new laundry and storage will also improve the building’s functionality.  

Mayor, Des Hudson said the extension was a great way to ensure City of Ballarat services continued to meet the needs of the rapidly expanding western suburbs of the municipality.

When the Lucas Community Hub first opened in 2016, Census data showed there were 1014 people in Lucas. The most recent Census in 2021 showed that figure had almost trebled to 2994.

“We are seeing how fast this area of Ballarat is growing and it is crucial we continue to provide families with high-quality infrastructure close to home,” Mayor Hudson said.

“The expansion will give the kindergarten capacity to provide high-quality, accessible, early years services close to home, and support children in Lucas and surrounding areas to be ‘school ready’.

“To be starting another kindergarten project like this after collaborating once again with the state government, just one month after opening the new community hub and kindergarten just a few kilometres away in Alfredton, shows how much we are investing in the western suburbs.”

Victorian Minister for Children, Lizzie Blandthorn said the State Government was supporting local councils to plan for and build the early childhood infrastructure needed to deliver Three- and Four-Year-Old Kindergarten programs in their communities.  

“The Lucas Community Hub expansion will extend free kindergarten programs in Ballarat’s west and give more families access to a quality kinder close to home,” said Minister Blandthorn. 

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