A $350,000 development has been approved for a Kooringal childcare desperate to meet soaring demand for the family service in the city.
The extensive development will see a new building erected besides the Spring Kidz childcare campus on the corner of Plumpton and Lake Albert Road, to be attached to the existing center upon completion.
The new building will add 36 places, increasing the centers capacity from 44 to 80 as demand for daycare services booms in the city.
Spring Kidz director Janelle McManus said the decision was made with the increasing demand for childcare in mind, particularly for spots for babies under two.
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"We can currently take four [babies] but due to the increased demand we are extending to cater for an additional eight which will be great moving forward because we do have a waitlist most of the year," Ms McManus said.
The capacity for care for under-twos will increase to 12 under the new development,.
"There's always been a lot of interest but especially since COVID people are going back into the workforce and are needing care for their children," Ms McManus said. "There are lots of new people coming to the area and Wagga is only growing."
Owner of Spring Kidz, Rod Furner, said this year demand has "gone crazy", adding his two centers at Kooringal and Bourkelands are running at almost full capacity year-round.
"Lots of people are moving from Sydney into Wagga," Mr Furner said. "Every week we've got people ringing who are moving down, so it is a big drawcard to Wagga if we have good daycare centers in their suburbs. There's a big demand now."
Mr Furner's decision to expand their campus comes after property experts reported childcare has become a leading factor for families deciding where to buy, with other Wagga operators reporting similarly high demand.
The new development will coincide with the government's plan to boost childcare subsidies as part of the 2021/22 budget. The planned increase will take subsidies to 95 per cent for families with two or more children aged five and under as of June 2022.
Ms McManus said the increased funding was welcome, and predicted it would only drive further demand for childcare from working families in Wagga.
"I think it's great and I'm hoping it will allow families to increase their days of attendance," she said. "There is the waitlist issue but with the extension we're hopeful we can cater for that."
Spring Kidz will further increase their capacity with a new campus to be constructed at Coolamon in the same timeframe as the Kooringal development, adding much-needed childcare options to the area.
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