GREEN. One of the first things you notice about the new $5.2 million Karmai Community Children’s Centre, when you arrive at the drop-off point from Princes Street is the feature wall in green, ceramic bricks.
And it’s an entirely soothing green, easy on the eye and offering a bright, welcome contrast to the functional walls and glass that surround the five main rooms; two kinders and three childcare spaces in this stunning new centre.
It’s not finished yet, but after the building crews pulled out two weeks ago and the electricians came in and connected all the power; it is substantially ready to be handed over to the shire and the community for the all-important fit-out stage.
The outdoor activities areas, complete with large soft-fall play spaces, a bike track and sandpits are largely complete too, as is the landscaping work with plants positively jumping away in the ideal growing conditions we’ve had lately.
It’s almost there.
Last week the Sentinel-Times took a peek at the facility with shire officers Tony Peterson the project co-ordinator and Sally Baker coordinator child and family services, and Mark Paterson of TS Constructions.
And you couldn’t help but be impressed.
The 120-place facility is going to be a massive asset and drawcard for the town, starting first term next year by which time the former Birralee Child Care Centre, Korumburra kinder, maternal and child health and the rest of the early childhood community will be settled in.
As well as the two kinder rooms, featuring high ceilings and natural light, there are three separate childcare rooms for 0-2 age, 2-3 age and 3-5 age groups with transition to kinder and school, after-school care and the full range of maternal and children’s services right there.
“We’ve got seven sites around South Gippsland for our maternal child health services and this one here at the new centre, will cover Korumburra, Loch, Poowong, Nyora and district,” said Ms Baker.
As well as the main kinder and childcare rooms, there’s a multipurpose room available to all user groups, education partners and the general community.
“We have used a broad range of efficiency technologies including a 10kW solar system on the roof, and when combined with a battery array we are planning to include, the running costs which were originally designed to be neutral, will actually be positive,” said Tony.
He said the building was climate-controlled by computer able to open ventilation, turn-on heaters or air conditioners as required, although he’s hopeful there will need to be only minimal heating and air conditioning use, thanks to the efficiency rating of the building.
There’s even a rain sensor on the roof to shut the windows as required.
“A lot of these features are included in public buildings these days as a function of modern building design.”
Builder’s representative, Mark Paterson of TS Constructions, said the project had been a joy to work on.
“We’ve had an excellent partnership between the builder, contractors, the shire and the Karmai committee,” said Mark.
“This has been a long-term project that this community has really worked hard to deliver and it has been a pleasure for us to be involved in it with the community.
“We’ll be handing over the building sometime later this month and then they can get on with adding the furniture and all the personal touches they want to add.”
As well as his own staff and contractors, Mark paid tribute to the work by Tim Trail to continue the open consultation process that has been a feature of the project.
There’s little doubt that when the building is up and operational early next year it will be a great source of community pride, while also heralding a new era in childcare, early childhood development and education.
Karmai kids centre green inside and out