KUCHING, Feb 3: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg presented RM2.5 million grant to support SMK St Joseph’s Mill Hill restoration project today.
With this huge donation from the Sarawak government, SMK St Joseph finally raised enough to cover and complete the restoration project which was estimated to cost RM5.5 million.
The mock cheque was received by the acting chairman for Mill Hill Restoration Project and Board of SMK St Joseph, Christopher Chua today following a courtesy call on Abang Johari at his office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia today.
Chua, who led a delegation from the St Joseph School Board of Management, also briefed Abang Johari on the development and restoration progress of the St Joseph School’s Mill Hill Block.
Accompanying the board was Minister for Local Government and Housing Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian and Minister for Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah,SMK St Joseph Board patron Archbishop Simon Poh and Board member Gerald Lee.
Meanwhile, the Mill Hill restoration project which started in August last year had struggled over the past year to raise enough funds to restore and preserve the 127-year-old building with a significant piece of Sarawak’s history.
The school’s Old Josephians Association (OJA) had carried out various activities including Save Mill Hill Run 2019 and virtual Ora Et Labora Run 2020 to raise sufficient funds for the project, apart from donations from fellow Josephians, corporate entities as well as elected representatives and government grants.
It managed to raise RM2.5 million by the end of 2020.
The Mill Hill Block, built-in 1894, was the first brick building of St Joseph’s school, which was declared opened by Rajah Charles Brooke. The 19th-century building had stood the test of time and was a durable symbol of the proud history of the school.
But in 2019, inspections carried out by the Public Works Department (JKR) Sarawak found that the block, which housed 12 classrooms, was unsafe for occupation due to structural damage.
The restoration 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. -DayakDaily