Moama Preschool allocated 2ha site for new facility

By Charmayne Allison

MORE Moama three and four-year-olds will have access to early childhood education right on their doorstep as Moama and District Preschool makes strides towards a new state-of-the-art building.

Murray River Council has voted to allocate a 2ha site off Moama’s Lignum Lane for the new facility, with a concept design already in the works from Lloyd Sage Design.

The preschool’s current cramped facilities have driven the preschool to turn away families, with the ageing 43-year-old building already at capacity for 2020 student numbers.

Located in Moama’s residential heartland on Regent St, local parents have also been forced to dodge road traffic and battle for parking spots when dropping off their kids.

And with the State Government’s rollout of 15 hours of subsided three-year-old kinder set to kick off in 2021, this new facility can’t come quickly enough.

Especially for preschool committee president Stacey Warren and her newborn son Otis.

“I really hope my newborn is able to attend three-year-old kinder in the new facility we're looking at building,” she said.

“My other three children have gone through Moama Preschool and it is a fantastic service our community offers that really sets up our young people for their future.”

The preschool was unable to place three children in 2019 and has already turned away five children for next year, despite not advertising for three-year-old applications.

“We get lots of phone calls and we have to say to those families look sorry, we don't have enough room in our double unit preschool,” preschool director Narelle Blachford said.

“Fortunately we're a border town so they can seek placements over in Echuca but people want to be community-based.

“As the population in Moama grows we really need to build a facility that can provide capacity to meet demands.”

The preschool committee approached Michael Sage from Lloyd Sage Design in April to prepare schematics and initial concept plans for a new four-room, purpose-built facility.

“We are extremely grateful that Michael agreed to do this on a pro bono basis,” Ms Warren said.

Armed with the concept plans and additional research backing their proposal, the committee approached MRC, local MPs and other local bodies for help.

Since MRC allocated the Lignum Lane site to the preschool in August, the committee has raised sufficient funds through NSW Clubs Grants to complete full building plans and quantity surveyor reports.

Placing the group in the perfect position to apply for significant government funding to complete the build.

“MRC has already put us at the top of the list of applications for the Federal Government’s $2 million Drought Communities Program,” committee member Alison Wright said.

The proposed site for the preschool will be in the heart of Moama’s new development and is close to schools like Moama Anglican Grammar.

“Plus it's providing much safer access in terms of traffic flow and parking,” Ms Warren said.

So how long until the doors on the brand new facility open?

“I'd love to give you a date but how long is a piece of string,” Ms Warren said.

“The council is applying for some funding at the moment so we're crossing all our fingers and toes that this gets up and running as soon as possible.”

The committee would like to thank MRC, Member for Murray Helen Dalton and C4EM for their help to date.