Students and staff at the French-Australian Preschool in Red Hill are enjoying the fruits of a long awaited major building project.
After several years of planning and fundraising, stage one of the project is now complete with a new building officially opened on Tuesday 2 April. As a not-for-profit association, the preschool self-funded the project through a combination of fundraising and a bank loan.
French-Australian Preschool Director Véronique Danjou said they started talking with architects at the end of 2015 and it was decided to start with the extension first with the goal to complete renovations once funds become available; hopefully in the next two years.
“We are immensely grateful to everyone who helped us with this project. We are very proud of what we have achieved together. We have a beautiful new building; we have crafted better spaces for our students and staff,” she said.
The two new classrooms are built to National Quality Framework (NQF) requirements, which include direct access to toilet and handwashing facilities from each classroom and outside. In addition to the classrooms, Ms Danjou said there is a new welcome area for parents and visitors, new administration offices, a sick bay and a laundry.
The school is currently at capacity with 132 students, with the new classrooms allowing them to meet the 1:11 teacher-to-student ratio. Ms Danjou said they previously met this ratio across the whole centre, but not in each classroom.
With the new building, she said they could potentially look at increasing their capacity; however, the 132 limit will remain for the time being.
The French-Australian Preschool has been in operation since 1973, moving to its current location in 1977. Given the age of the building, and NQF requirements, Ms Danjou said they knew they would have to renovate and extend the school at some point.
The next phase of works – renovating the existing building – is already planned, however they need to raise $1.6 million to be able to complete the project.
“This is a project of a whole community,” Ms Danjou said. “This preschool has been around for nearly 50 years so we … have a great community of people supporting us.”
To donate to the preschool building fund, current and former families can Buy a Brick – the pavers will form a pathway at the school – online at frenchaustralianpreschool.com.au or visit givenow.com.au/frenchaustralianpreschoolassociation.