Growing Suburbs funding for Longwarry Early Learning Centre expansion

Longwarry’s youngest residents are set to enjoy twice the fun when the existing Longwarry Kindergarten is doubled to a state-of-the-art Early Learning Centre.

Baw Baw Shire Council has received $500,000 in funding from the Victorian Government’s Growing Suburbs Fund (GSF) to deliver the Longwarry Early Learning Centre Expansion project.

At a total cost of $1 million, the project will provide up to 96 kindergarten places and accommodate three and four-year-old kindergarten programs and provide space for community groups.

The proposed design will expand the existing facility from a single room kindergarten offering 24 places, to a dual room facility with 48 licenced places.

The expanded facility will feature flexible spaces, with connected indoor and outdoor areas to promote learning and play.

The facility will be fully refurbished and will include a new kitchen, a large entry foyer, staff areas and toilet facilities. The existing car park will also be upgraded, and a second car park will be developed, providing 23 new spaces.

As the design stage is underway and the site is ready to access, the project will be added to Council’s 2020/21 Capital Works Program for delivery by 2022.

At its Council meeting on 24 June 2020, Council moved a resolution to identify the Longwarry ELC expansion as one of three priority projects for the Growing Suburbs Fund. It was selected due to its need in the community and readiness for delivery.

Advocating for additional kindergarten places are key features captured in the Baw Baw Shire Council Plan 2017-2021 and in Council’s advocacy documents and plans. Council’s current Municipal Early Years Plan also prioritised the project due to the high levels of population growth within Longwarry.

As stated by Mayor Cr Danny Goss

“This is the first project in Baw Baw Shire to be funded through the Growing Suburbs Fund, delivering much-needed early years infrastructure for Longwarry. On behalf of Council, we would like to acknowledge the Victorian Government for expanding the fund to include peri-urban Councils and supporting this project.”

As stated by West Ward Cr Keith Cook

“Longwarry is the closest town in Baw Baw to Greater Melbourne and is experiencing high-levels of residential growth. This funding will allow Council fast-track the delivery of this project and create an asset that will benefit the community for years to come.”

As stated by West Ward Cr Tricia Jones

“Council has consistently advocated for additional early years infrastructure to support our growing communities for a number of years. This project is a result of this work and will be a fantastic learning space for Longwarry’s youngest residents.”

As stated by West Ward Cr Jessica O’Donnell

“Without this expansion there would have been waiting lists for kindergarten places from 2022 onwards based on population figures. Council is now able to deliver this project within the next year and set Longwarry up for the future.”

Image: Concept designs for the Longwarry Early Learning Centre expansion project.

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