A PRESCHOOL at Bayswater Primary School is a step closer after Knox Council committed $330,000 to the project last week.
The school is seeking to modify its early learning centre — built as part of the Building the Education Revolution — where the preschool would be located.
The council and school are working together to try secure $600,000 in state government funding.
The council had already allocated $100,000 towards the $1 million-plus project in its 2012-13 budget but had to commit the additional amount to be eligible for the funding.
Principal Ian Michelson said the introduction of compulsory 15 hours of preschool for four year olds from next year meant more centres were needed, particularly in Bayswater.
Bluehills is the only preschool in the suburb.
Koolyangarra, which is on the north side of Mountain Highway, stopped operating as a preschool several years ago because of a lack of enrolments.
Mr Michelson said he was confident enrolments would pick up at the proposed new site.
He said there had already been 13 official expressions of interest from school families for 2014 enrolments.
Bayswater parent Anne Bell believes the preschool is vital for the area.
Mrs Bell said having the preschool in the ELC meant children would be more comfortable moving onto primary school and would make life easier for parents who had to do multiple pick-ups.
"People seem excited by the proposal. The know the set-up, they know the people — it's like a family."
She also noted that Bayswater was getting younger — "there are definitely more younger families, and the older ones are moving out of the area".
Mayor Adam Gill, who has supported the proposed preschool for several years, said many families lived on the south side of Bayswater, so opening a preschool at the school was "geographically the right location".
The council report noted it would cost almost $120,000 to make Koolyangarra useable again.
But Cr Gill said it was the cheaper option long-term because there would be ongoing pricey maintenance costs for the older building.
Koolyangarra has been valued at $850,000 — down from $1.3 million just a year ago — but money from that site wouldn't necessarily go towards the council's contribution to the new preschool.
Any sales of council land must be allocated to the asset renewal fund until it reaches $2 million— then the money can be used for other projects.
A decision on the state government funding is expected by the end of the year.
THE WISH LIST
Extensive bathroom modifications
Gardens with plants and vegetables
Storage and play equipment