By Cecilia Nasmith
Construction now underway at the Grafton Community Centre will result in new child-care and early-learning spaces.
The announcement came in a press release from Northumberland County, which is directing a capital investment of more than $500,000 from the Ontario Ministry of Education to renovations at the facility that will create a child-care centre with 15 new spaces (as well as an EarlyON Child and Family Centre).
Acting warden Bob Sanderson extended thanks to the province for this investment, which will increase access to quality licensed child care and early-learning opportunities.
“With these renovations, we are taking an important step forward in addressing the growing local demand for child care and creating an environment for early learning that will support the healthy development and well-being of our children and families.”
This facility will mark the first EarlyON Child and Family Centre in Alnwick-Haldimand Township. It will be located in a former two-room schoolhouse that was closed (along with a number of one-room schoolhouses) when nearby Grafton Public School opened in 1967. Extensive renovations in the late 1990s modernized and updated the facility as a community centre and new, roomier home for the Grafton library (since renamed the Bette LeBarr branch of the Alnwick-Haldimand Public Library in memory of a beloved long-time librarian).
With these new investments, the facility will now house the first “family age group” licensed child-care program in Northumberland County, where infants, toddlers and youth will be cared for in the same space, allowing siblings to remain together.
Work being done to accommodate these new operations includes new flooring, paint, cabinetry and lighting, as well as updated kitchen facilities, installation of a universal washroom, creation of a secure outdoor play area, and expansion of the existing parking lot.
Acting Alnwick-Haldimand Township Mayor Gail Latchford said that the new child-care and early-learning facility sharing space with the library is a good fit.
“This facility will be an important resource for our families with young children,” Latchford said.
“We look forward to celebrating the grand opening this fall.”