Blackburn Hamlet Preschool finds a new home for 2017

Kelly Snider
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EDUCATION. After over 40 years, Blackburn Hamlet Preschool will be leaving their original home off Glen Park Dr. and moving to a new facility on Tauvette Dr.

Currently, the preschool is located in a small facility just off of Glen Park Dr. The goal is to make the big move for Sept. 2017.

Sarah MacDonald-McLean, president of the Blackburn Hamlet Preschool Board of Directors, said the preschool will be moving to a facility that will be shared with Just Food, a non-profit organization that works on initiatives surrounding food access and food policy.

"The committee determined the best path forward is moving to a new shared-use educational facility located on NCC land that is on a long-term lease with Just Food," said MacDonald-McLean.

"Together with Just Food, we are creating an environmentally conscious shared-use facility that will provide a permanent home for the preschool, space for Just Food activities, and space that the community can use."

In Dec. 2014, an external building audit was done for the preschool, which led the City of Ottawa to not renew the lease on the building due to health and safety issues.

"One of the beautiful things about Blackburn Hamlet is the beautiful greenspace, but that makes it difficult to find space in the community to re-locate that meets modern legislative requirements for early childhood educational facilities," said MacDonald-McLean. "So the period of time wasn't sufficient to find a new home."

However, after support came pouring in from the community, a two-year lease extension was negotiated with the city, which was enough time for the preschool to re-locate.

The terms of the lease extension did require the preschool to make a number of repairs and upgrades, which was completed during the summer.

Now, the preschool is looking forward to their move. The goal is to be in their new home in Sept. 2017.

The new facility will need to be transported to the Just Food land, but it is currently being housed only a few kilometres away.

In a blog from the preschool, it was noted that the new facility is in "excellent condition, and at 8,600 square feet, it provides ample space for both of the project's partners and for future community collaborators."

MacDonald-McLean said the preschool has done activities at Just Food in the past, but they are in the exploratory stages of partnering with Just Food to develop programs for the children.

One major component that they are able to bring forward with this move, is offering full day programming.

"The new location allows us to continue to offer the half day programming and now full day programming, because there is a full commercial kitchen. This will allow us to meet the growing needs [of the community]."

Campaign

A capital campaign has been launched to help support the relocation.  The preschool is in the process of preparing documents to pursue financing through the Community Forward Fund.

These funds will allow the preschool to purchase and transport the facility to the new site. The goal is to raise enough money for a down payment and additional funds for expenses related to the move and redesign of the facility.

The immediate goal is to raise $75,000.

Macdonald-McLean said a Blackburn Hamlet Preschool fund has been established with the Community Foundation of Ottawa.

This allows the preschool to receipt any donations that are made, while they convert to a charitable organization.

On Oct. 2, a meeting regarding relocation project will be hosted at the Blackburn Hamlet Community Hall at 7:30 p.m.

This meeting will include representatives from the preschool, as well as Just Food, Councillor Jody Mitic's office, and the Blackburn Community Association.

LINKS

For more information on the fundraising campaign, visit www.bhps.ca/fundraising.

For more information on the meeting on Oct. 2, visit www.bhps.ca/relocation_meeting.

 

Organizations: Just Food, NCC, Community Forward Fund Community Foundation Blackburn Community Association

Geographic location: Ottawa

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