Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization has a new location to call home.
The non-profit learning centre is for children facing neurological difficulties, including fetal alcohol syndrome, autism and Down syndrome. The centre was previously located at Longwood Station, but due to an expiring lease, was relocated to Needham Street, off of Island Highway.
The new locale is a marked improvement over the old one, which was dark and classrooms didn’t all have windows, said Teresa Nielsen, organization executive director.
“This space here is great. There are tons of windows throughout the building. There is some space at the back that we plan to turn into a little bit of a play area for the kids,” said Nielsen. “This location is a lot safer to take the kids out for a walk than having to go through a busy parking lot. We have parks close by here for the kids. More room too, so that we can expand and offer our services to more kids.”
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According to Nielsen, classrooms used to be split up into a number of different rooms, which is no longer the case. The children and staff are both thrilled at the new digs, she said.
“Now each classroom has two staff members in it at all times and the kids and their group are all together,” said Nielsen.
NUKO board member Brad Bailey works for a real estate company and assisted in securing the new building, according to Nielsen.
“He did some research, he really believed in what we are doing here with the children, so he did offer us a lease to purchase,” said Nielsen. “We lease it for two years and if we’re happy at the end of the two years, he’ll carry a mortgage for us.”
NUKO opened up the Needham Street site on March 1 and had a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 13.