It has taken several years of struggle and persistence to get this project off the ground, but the Early Learning and Care Stakeholder Action Group is happy to announce that all the pieces are now in place to complete the new Early Learning Hub.
“The whole thing has really taken off,” said ELCSAG co-ordinator Joanne McCullough. “It just shows the power of persistence.”
For the last three years, ELCSAG has been in fundraising mode, bringing in a tally of roughly $1,023,000 to pay for the three-room addition to Alexander Park Elementary School. Once built, the building will be maintained by School District 6, and any operations inside the facility will be self-supporting.
The three rooms will each cater to a different age group with the first taking up to 12 infant/toddlers (ages birth to 2), one taking up to 25 3-5 year-olds, and the final serving as a preschool with the potential for four different classes.
“This will all be based on demand,” said McCullough. “This is not to step on the toes of any already existing businesses. It’s to fill a need in the community for more childcare spaces.”
The facility is currently in the detailed design phase (which is 90 per cent complete), after which they will move into the tender process (hopefully in May). If all goes well, they will be breaking ground in late June or early July of this year.
This immense project was taken on by a dedicated group of volunteers including Renee Quanstrom, Helen Oosthoek, Rhonda Smith, Greg Ehman, Steve Jackson, Vicki Nelson, Steve Wyer, Connie Barlow and Karen Cathcart.
“The list could go on and on. There were so many people in this community who pushed this project forward and made it happen,” said McCullough.
The project also couldn’t go forward without all the generous donations and contributions, ensuring that the facility could be build without any burden to the taxpayers. Contributions included $500,000 from the province’s childcare capital grant, $316,000 from the CBT social grant, $80,000 from the Columbia Valley Credit Union, $80,000 from the Economic Opportunities Fund, $27,000 from Rotary (local and international), $10,000 from the Steve Nash Foundation, $6,000 from the Giving Tree Childcare Society, and $4,000 from local businesses and individuals.