Health and education hub

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An innovative child health and education hub opens beside Queenstown’s relocated Wakatipu High early next year.

The building, off Remarkables Park’s Mountain Ash Drive, will have a new early learning centre on the ground floor.

Upstairs there’ll be offices for child well-being services and Kip McGrath’s extra-curricular facility.

Remarkable Start Early Learning Centre, for 70-plus children, is being set up by local preschool education specialists Debs McKerchar and Candice Stewart, who’ve been at Queenstown Montessori.

“Remarkable Start will be an independent centre with a very tailor-made and personal approach to giving each child the best possible start to their learning and young lives,” Stewart says.

“Our vision is to create a superior, quality centre that’s leading-edge in New Zealand.”

Stewart was a National Excellence in Teaching Awards recipient last year.

Four upper-floor rooms and a boardroom will be set up for visiting childcare specialists in areas like speech and language therapy, dyslexia and behavioural psychology.

“Local families have been crying out for a facility like this, with a multi-disciplinary team under one roof,” Wanaka-based paediatric occupational therapist Jenna Hale, who’ll manage the services, says.

Till now, many parents with children needing these services regularly travel to Invercargill, Dunedin or even Christchurch, she notes.

Local Kip McGrath owner Emma Wilson says her new centre, replacing her Queenstown and Arrowtown premises, will be “a fantastic, flexible and accessible space”.

Kip McGrath helps kids who are struggling at school or need challenging at a higher level.

The hub, opening about the same time as Wakatipu High’s new campus, is being built by Alpine Group Construction, for a local developer, for just under $5 million.

Designed by Christchurch’s DD Architects, the project’s being led by local quantity surveyor and engineer Karsten Pedersen, of KPCO.

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