Thursday, 4 February 2021

Big thanks to our Chief Minister for supporting Mill Hill Block restora­tion project at SMK St Joseph, Kuching

Our heartful thanks to our Right Honourable, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Haji Openg for supporting the Mill Hill Block restora­tion project at SMK St Joseph which re­ceived a much-needed boost in the form of a RM2.5 mil­lion grant from Sarawak's govern­ment.

The grant was handed over by Datuk Pat­inggi Abang Jo­hari who him­self is an ‘old boy’ of St Joseph’s School du­ring a cour­tesy call by St Joseph’s School Board of Man­age­ment at his of­fice in Wisma Bapa Malaysia on February 3.

I was also with the visiting del­e­ga­tion led by the act­ing chair­man of the board and also the project’s act­ing chair­man, Christo­pher Chua who briefed the chief min­is­ter on the devel­op­ment and progress of the restora­tion project.

The project will see nine class­rooms re­stored, the school of­fice and staff rooms for staff and teachers up­graded, and ad­di­tion of a new ex­hi­bi­tion hall and lec­ture room to hold events as part of the school learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Govern­ment grants and do­na­tions from for­mer stu­dents and well-wish­ers en­sured there were enough funds to start the ini­tial phases of the restora­tion work.

The Mill Hill Block which housed the De La Salle Brothers is iconic not only to St Joseph’s School but also to the his­tory of Sarawak as it was gazetted as a Her­itage Build­ing in 2010 by the state govern­ment un­der Sarawak Cul­tural Her­itage Or­di­nance 1993. The three-storey block com­prises the main build­ing in the cen­tre with two wings.

The main build­ing was de­clared open in 1894 by Ra­jah Charles Brooke, the Se­cond White Ra­jah of Sarawak. The two three-storey wings were added in 1927. The restora­tion of the Mill Hill Block which be­gan in Au­gust last year is es­ti­mated to cost RM5.5 mil­lion.

The cen­tury-old main build­ing which has with­stood the test of time needs re­pairs while the two wings, which have sig­nif­i­cantly de­te­ri­o­rated, have been cer­ti­fied as un­safe for oc­cu­pa­tion by the Pub­lic Works Depart­ment.

Present at the meet­ing wth our Chief Minister were Lo­cal Govern­ment and Hous­ing Min­is­ter Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian who is Old Josephi­ans As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man, the school board pa­tron Arch­bishop Si­mon Poh and board mem­bers Dato Sri JC Fong and Ger­ald Lee.

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