Construction on the new premises for the Niagara Nursery School remain on budget, and on schedule to open in September.
Adam Stewart, chair of the expansion committee, credits the collaboration between the town, which will own the building, the region, which is overseeing the project, and the nursery school.
Stewart took a tour of the interior recently, and is greatly impressed by what he saw.
“I really think the building is amazing. It seemed like an insurmountable amount of work to get to that point, but it is on budget and on schedule. We’ve been told it could be completed by the end of July, or early August,” he says. “It’s been a great execution.”
He says walking through it, seeing all the little toilets and sinks, was inspiring.
“I just had a moment when I was really blown away, thinking some day my kid will be able to use those.”
It’s been “a monumental task, but we’re so close to getting it done.”
His three oldest children have all benefited from attending Niagara Nursery School, he says.
Now they’re at Crossroads Public School, and he’s had the advantage of dropping them off and seeing how confident and happy they are as they wave goodbye, while witnessing other children’s distress at being separated from their parents. He credits the nursery school with doing a great job of preparing kids for school. His youngest, Andie, is just a year old, but she will reap the benefit of the expansion, he adds.
Getting the project finished will be a benefit to the town, which will then be able to start renting out the current nursery school space for other programs, likely for seniors, he says.
The only lag in the project has been meeting its fundraising goal. The board expected it to be an easy feat, says Stewart, but that was before COVID. With local businesses and restaurants struggling, the board didn’t want to create added pressure asking for donations, so fundraising has been difficult.
There have been some generous donations, but the campaign has not reached its target. The nursery school committed to raising $100,00 to go toward paying off a debenture for the building, and still hopes to surpass its goal, which would also allow for the purchase of more equipment for the kids, and more programming.
“We thought it would be easy to raise $100,000, but local businesses are having a tough time. We’re still looking for funding. The more we have, the more we can offer the kids, with more flexibility to move forward with equipment.
The NNS has purchased some furnishings and play equipment, and by being careful and searching out good deals, some as a result of COVID, they’ve done well.
The expansion will help with the more than 100 kids on the waiting list, and will also be one of the first local facilities to have spaces for infants, says Stewart. But it is about so much more than that, he adds.
“It’s not just a building or a school. This offers a foundation for the town, which is changing and growing — one more geared to young families. It’s also a foundation for the community, one that addresses the changing demographics, and offers the next generation of our kids a deep connection and roots to NOTL.”
Donating funds to the expansion, he says, is donating to “the next pillars of NOTL, the children.”
To make a donation, visit https://niagaranurseryschool.ca.