The City of Oulu chose the leasing model
The City of Oulu had three day care centres in the Pateniemi area that were coming to the end of their lifespan. It was decided to replace them with one new day care centre, and so the City of Oulu acquired new premises for a ten-group extended day care centre under a leasing model.
Hoivatilat was chosen to implement the project. The duration of the lease is 25 years, and Hoivatilat is also responsible for the maintenance and regular upkeep of the property. The new Ruiskukka day care centre has versatile, comfortable facilities for 200 children – for full-time groups, preschool and open club activities.
After the first few weeks, day care manager Mervi Kilpeläinen is very pleased with the new facilities:
The acoustics, the colour scheme, spatial design… The centre has already proved to be really functional!
Acoustics are one of the most important factors affecting pleasantness in day care centres. For this reason, extensive resources were invested in it. In the Ruiskukka day care centre, the partitions are thicker than usual, almost all the doors are soundproof, and there are acoustic plates on the walls in addition to the ceilings.
Facilities especially suitable for early childhood education
When the City of Oulu invited tenders for the project, one criterion was that children could participate in the planning process. Participatory planning is an important part of Hoivatilat’s operating model, so it was easy to meet this requirement. In a workshop held by Hoivatilat, children painted works that now adorn the wall of the storage area in the playground and voted for their favourite play equipment for the yard. The children’s parents and, of course, the staff of the new day care centre also participated in the planning.
Among the things that parents would like to see was the more positive atmosphere of small day care centres. This led to the idea of village activities: the premises were designed so that two groups form their own small “village” inside the day care centre. In addition, parents wanted the facilities to be available in the evenings for club and hobby activities also. According to Kilpeläinen, this will be the case when the restrictions put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic have eased. For example, fairy-tale ballet and music or choir activities can be arranged in the premises of the multipurpose hall and canteen. These communal and inclusive activities would benefit families in the area.
A very practical idea suggested by the staff was that the interiors should have extra cabinets for employees’ outerwear. Outerwear need to be put on and removed frequently when staff have to spend about half the day in the yard. Thanks to this arrangement, children do not have to wait long indoors with their outerwear on until the adults are ready to go.
Kilpeläinen is delighted that they got excellent facilities – and without delay.
You can see from a lot of things that our staff also participated in the planning. For example, as part of village activities, two groups share the entrance areas, which makes life easier, especially in the mornings and afternoons when there are a lot of comings and goings.
The shared spaces in the day care centre are very versatile. A separate canteen allows group spaces to be kept for longer-lasting play. The multipurpose hall is suitable for light exercise, and performances can be held in both the drama room and the music room. Arts and crafts are practised in the studio, and cooking and cleaning in the small “home”. The media room offers opportunities to learn how to use media in a variety of ways, from smart TV to books. Separate therapy facilities enable therapy sessions for children in privacy.
Genuine collaboration from the beginning
Kilpeläinen is satisfied with the partnership with Hoivatilat during both the design and construction phases. “Now that the operations and tenancy have begun, we are learning a little about new things, as the previous day care centre was owned by the City of Oulu and with it all the functions were carried out through the Oulu Tilapalvelut services.
Now we are learning how to operate with a slightly more fragmented model, but the Hoivatilat property manager has taken on a big role. They are always reachable, and it makes it easier for me to work, as there’s only one person with whom things need to be arranged. All in all, Hoivatilat has been a very good partner. They listened to the wishes of users and genuinely took them into account from the start.