News | 8 April 2022
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Community Hall upgrade child’s play in Aro Valley

Before construction started on the Aro Valley community hall, the builders gave earmuffs to the local pre-schoolers – who have been wearing them pretty much non-stop ever since.

Aro Valley preschool children in earmuffs playing

Construction will involve the lifting, re-piling and repositioning of the building, constructing a new entrance extension and side extension, kitchen, toilets, ramp accessways, and acoustic improvements in the hall.

The project is estimated to take up to nine months, but the local pre-school is embracing the noise and activity as a learning experience, according to Aro Valley Pre-School Senior Teacher, Bridget. 

“The tamariki have been super keen to wear the lovely bright coloured earmuffs – not only for the noisy times, but also when eating, painting and generally playing!  

“At first, they all wanted to wear them, especially indoors, and found that it was very hard to hear each other so they raised their voice up to a louder volume – for the teachers, it was great to have earmuffs too at that point!

Aro Valley preschool children in earmuffs at worksite

“They’re fascinated by the sounds being made and ask lots of questions about what is happening behind the fences, and the team doing the work answer in a very child friendly way. It has also added a lot of imagination to the play around preschool with tamariki creating buildings that need to be moved and constructing work vehicles. 

“Now, whenever there is any form of noise outside – and not only from the building site, but from noisy sirens, trucks or motorbikes nearby, they rush off to find their earmuffs to wear while playing.”

Aro Valley preschool children's earmuffs hanging on a line

PBJ Construction Site Manager Matt Lawson says building a relationship with the community is as important as the building itself.

“We like to include the community wherever we’re working, especially as this has been a community-led design process, and we’re going to be here for a while.

“The kids and their earmuffs make going to work fun, it really brings a bit of cheer to the team, and lots of smiles all round.”

Wellington City Council owns the site and maintains the community buildings. The community centre is operated by the Aro Valley Community Council (AVCC), with funding from the Council to support community activities and community development.

This upgrade project was approved in the Long-term Plan, has a budget of approximately $1.2 million, and is scheduled to finish in October 2022.