After a summer of work and planning, we’d like to provide an update to BHPS’s supporters and the community at large on the current status of the school’s relocation. We’ve made a great deal of progress since our last formal update, and we’re excited to share both where we are and where we’ll soon be.
In the fall of 2017, Blackburn Hamlet Preschool will move its operations to a new facility on Tauvette Drive. Together with our partner, Just Food, we are creating an environmentally conscious shared-use facility that will provide a permanent home for the preschool, space for Just Food activities, and indoor space available to the community at large. Just Food has been an invaluable partner in this project, and we would not have a long-term solution without their generosity and community-mindedness. As a building solution, we’ve selected a used modular structure. The unit is currently located nearby in town. Having just come off a three year lease, it’s in excellent condition, and at 8,600 square feet, it provides ample space for both of the project’s partners and for future community collaborators.
What began as a challenge for BHPS has really become an opportunity. Moving our operations to a shared space will provide larger classrooms and access to a commercial kitchen. As a result of both changes, we can further expand on the services we currently offer. Once the new facility opens, we’ll be providing both half and full day educational services - helping to meet the need in our community for full day care. And our operations will run concurrent with other adult and children's programming, as well as other community activities during evenings and weekends.
As you can imagine, this project will require a significant financial investment, and we’ve taken steps to begin raising the money that we need. First, through the Community Foundation of Ottawa we have created the Blackburn Hamlet Preschool Fund. The fund will be used to collect and incubate donations – and also allows us to provide our donors with charitable receipts. We are in the initial steps of securing a loan from the Community Forward Fund, which would provide us with immediate capital while some of our longer term fundraising measures build. We’re also applying to numerous grants at both the provincial and municipal level, many of which are particularly strong fit with a project like ours. Lastly, we’ve begun redirecting some of the school’s estimated budgetary surplus toward the project. Ultimately, this project will be funded by a combination of many sources.
Last week, we provided a project status update to Councillor Mitic and his staff, and the presentation was very well received. Councillor Mitic expressed strong enthusiasm for the plan ahead, and he offered his full support to the project. We are grateful for his ongoing assistance. It was Councillor Mitic’s work that secured our lease extension last year, and without his influence we would not have been able ensure the school’s continued operations.
Next month, we’ll be presenting a full, formal update to the community. We’ll provide a more detailed update on the status of the project, we’ll discuss the future plans for the school, and we’ll welcome any questions that the community may have.
We would like to thank everyone for the strong support that BHPS has received to date, especially throughout the past year. We’ve been a proud part of the community for over forty years, and we’re working hard to ensure there are just as many years ahead. Over the coming days we’ll be officially launching our public fundraising campaign. We’ll be reaching out again soon.
The BHPS Board