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Destroyed childcare centre to be rebuilt


A state-of-the-art childcare centre is rising from the ashes of Kaikohe's Kidicorp ABC childcare centre destroyed by fire last year.

The converted community hall on Park Rd was destroyed just before 9am on July 11 by a blaze started by a light fitting. Thirteen children, the youngest just 3 months old, had to be evacuated.

No one was hurt but what was left of the building had to be demolished and all fittings, play equipment and children's artwork were lost.

Kidicorp area manager Audrey Kirk said it was awful to lose an established childcare centre, but the new building going up on the same Park Rd site would be state-of-the-art and specifically designed for early childhood.

The children are being taught in temporary premises at Kaikohe East School, where teachers are involving the children as much as they can in the building project by taking regular walks to check on progress.

Kaikohe firm Henwood Builders won the contract to build the new centre, which is due to be completed in June.

Because the centre is being built from scratch it could be purpose-designed with separate learning rooms for under-2s, 2-to-3-year-olds and 4-year-olds, as well as better indoor-outdoor flow.

"The teaching team are having input into the design and set-up of the rooms and outdoor areas. This will help staff and children feel part of the process and encourages a sense of belonging," Ms Kirk said.

"We don't want to forget our history either, so we're inviting the community to give us some ideas on this with carvings, plaques or plantings."

Ms Kirk said Kidicorp had been overwhelmed by the support offered by the Kaikohe community after the fire and was extremely grateful. In particular, principal Chicky Rudkin and the teachers at Kaikohe East School had shown great hospitality to the childcare centre's staff and children.

Suggestions on ways of remembering the past can be emailed to audrey.kirk@kidicorp.co.nz; parents can pre-enrol children by calling centre manager Ata Witana on (09) 401 2806.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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