Closed clinic trans­formed into pre-school

Vuk'uzenzele - - Youhtehalftohcus - Dale Hes

The old New­lands Clinic in Cape Town has been given a new lease on life, af­ter be­ing con­verted into a pre-pri­mary school that caters to 125 chil­dren be­tween the ages of three and six.

The Western Cape Gov­ern­ment saw the op­por­tu­nity to give the chil­dren of Barkly House Pre-Pri­mary School a bet­ter learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment, con­vert­ing the closed-down New­lands Clinic into new premises for a school, at a cost of R10.2 mil­lion.

Fa­cil­i­ties at the con­verted and mod­ernised new build­ing in­clude five class­rooms, a science block, a mu­sic room and af­ter­care fa­cil­i­ties.

The Western Cape Depart­ment of Trans­port and Pub­lic Works called on award-win­ning fe­male ar­chi­tect Rah­dia Katieb Parker to lead the trans­for­ma­tion.

Parker is the co-founder of Archi.CapeTown, a 100 per­cent black and fe­male owned com­pany which fo­cuses on com­mu­nity and ed­u­ca­tion projects. Parker said that the pro­ject was based around giv­ing chil­dren a pos­i­tive first ex­pe­ri­ence of school.

“It was im­por­tant that, dur­ing the de­sign of Barkly House, pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ences were estab­lished, to give chil­dren a sense of safety, free­dom, ex­plo­ration and con­nec­tion to land­scape,” said Parker.

“The school was de­signed to pro­mote good men­tal, phys­i­cal and emo­tional well­be­ing while learn­ing. I be­lieve that the school sets new stan­dards for learn­ing that the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion can be proud to pro­mote,” Parker added.

Dur­ing the past years Parker has been closely in­volved with the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor of the Western Cape. In 2012, she ini­ti­ated a pro­ject to ad­dress over­crowd­ing in schools. The pro­ject has since placed 950 schools in 200 lo­ca­tions around the prov­ince.

Barkly House Pre-Pri­mary prin­ci­pal Jeni Reid, said that the new build­ing has greatly im­proved the learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment for the chil­dren.

“It has been won­der­ful to be a part of the process and we are lov­ing the new en­vi­ron­ment. We have more space and bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties. We have also been able to in­crease our pupil num­bers from 75 to 125, and we al­ready have a long wait­ing list for the fu­ture,” said Reid.

From left to right: Ar­chi­tect Rah­dia Katieb Parker; Barkly House prin­ci­pal Jeni Reid, Western Cape Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Deb­bie Schafer and Western Cape Trans­port and Pub­lic Works Min­is­ter Don­ald Grant with some of the pre-school chil­dren.

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