The sun protection at the playground is rolled up, the sandbox at the Lebenshilfe kindergarten in Gauting is covered with a blue tarpaulin. When the weather is bad in winter there isn’t much going on outside. A total of six groups can be looked after in the container complex on the post meadow. It’s actually a temporary arrangement that was put together almost 14 years ago as an alternative school.
The rust is now spreading on the sheet metal roof, and the white paint has worn off in some places on the outer walls, allowing the gray of the steel modules to shine through. It is a temporary solution that is getting old and is actually already overdue. “We have to send a structural engineer in there regularly,” says Mayor Brigitte Kössinger. She announced that a new building is now being planned to replace the containers in the long term.
The municipality announced the containers as an “interim measure”. After a piece of the ceiling in the old elementary school building on Bahnhofstrasse collapsed in March 2010 and the building was immediately closed, an alternative solution had to be found quickly. A company from Blaubeuren built a two-story complex consisting of a total of 87 steel modules in record time on the meadow on the road to Buchendorf, in which elementary school students were taught from June onwards.
The local school building, which was closed and then classified by experts as dilapidated, has long since been demolished; primary school students are now taught in the renovated secondary school. But the containers are still there. Lebenshilfe from Starnberg has been running a kindergarten, crèche and after-school care center there for eight years. Children like to use the slope right next to it for tobogganing in winter when there is snow. In summer, football is played on the flat part of the meadow. Part of the area was also discussed for a new fire station, but experts rejected the location as unsuitable.
The containers that have been standing there for many years were never intended as a permanent solution; the ensemble at the foot of a wooded slope no longer looks very inviting. As announced a year ago, the town hall is now preparing to move into a new building. In any case, the costs are included in the municipality’s budget. The draft capital budget estimates expenditure totaling 4.8 million euros for the replacement building over the next two years. A little more than one million euros has also been earmarked for planning and contract awarding. Meanwhile, the temporary solution also costs a lot of money. Last year, 75,000 euros were earmarked for a static report, and a quarter of a million was earmarked for dismantling the temporary structure.
When what will be built also depends on the budget consultations, which will begin soon. However, residents have to prepare for the fact that the original temporary solution will be converted into a permanent solution. This year you will have the opportunity to find out what that should look like. The development plan for the property is currently being updated and will be made publicly available later this year, said town hall spokeswoman Charlotte Jans.
The exact location can then be found from this. The new building for the children’s home should therefore be built in the immediate vicinity of the containers. According to the current planning status, the temporary building will only be demolished once the new building is in place, so that another interim solution will not be necessary.
Several projects of this magnitude are difficult for Gauting to manage. Further kindergarten planning is therefore taking a back seat for the time being. A feasibility study was commissioned for a property in the extension of Wiesmahdstrasse near the school center on the outskirts of town; four groups would probably be possible there. But this project will now be viewed as a “second priority,” said Mayor Kössinger. It would be possible to set up two construction trailers there for a forest kindergarten.
However, more space alone, in whatever form, does not solve the problem. This is made symbolically clear by a banner on the fence around the container complex on the Postwiese. Because new rooms alone are not enough if there is not enough staff to look after the groups. Lebenshilfe is also looking for educators and childcare workers.
This is how it is for most providers of care facilities. The Waldorf kindergarten in the villa colony, which moved into a new building two years ago, has not yet been able to open a daycare center that was originally planned because there is a lack of staff, reported Mayor Kössinger.