WORK on a proposed childcare centre and kindergarten in Dennington is expected to start within the next two months, bringing a new concept to the Warrnambool pre-school sector.
It will operate from 6.30am to 6.30pm, offering care and kindergarten education for children aged from babies through to three and four-year-olds.
Transformation of the former St John’s Primary School site has been given a Warrnambool City Council planning permit and is awaiting a building permit.
Geelong-based Kardinia Church bought the property earlier this year to open a branch of its childcare division and support a local church congregation which will gather in the adjacent former chapel section of the campus.
Church business manager John Taekema told The Standard yesterday the project cost, including purchase and refurbishment, would be about $1.5 million.
“We’ll have a business model where childcare income is invested back into the community,” Mr Taekema said.
“Having a kindergarten integrated into a childcare centre is popular with working parents and gives them flexibility of options.
“We’ve done market research in Warrnambool and believe this is the way to go.”
The city council confirmed it issued a permit to develop a childcare centre, hall and café on the Tylden Street site, which is zoned general residential.
Mr Taekema said Kardinia operated one of the largest childcare pre-school centres in Australia, licensed for 226 children, adjacent to its main campus in Geelong.
The Warrnambool facility’s first stage will be designed for up to 98 children and could employ up to 45 staff at peak.
“We envisage starting work in the next few months and hope to open for business in the new year,” Mr Taekema said.
“It will involve new toilets, kitchen, painting and other alterations to the former school.
“The old chapel will be refurbished for our local congregation which operates in rented premises and is excited about having a place to call home.
“Kardinia has two campuses in Geelong and one in Melbourne.
“It is a family-orientated contemporary church movement with links to Churches of Christ, but governed locally.”