Former student donates to SMK St Joseph’s Mill Hill Block restoration

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Nor (second left) presenting the mock cheque for his contribution to Dr Sim (fourth right), witnessed by Lee (third left), Fong (third right) and others.

KUCHING: A former SMK St Joseph’s student donated RM200,000 towards the school’s Mill Hill Block restoration.

Sar-Alam Indah Sdn Bhd director Nor Qamarulzaman Osman presented the donation yesterday to Old Josephians Association president Dato Sr Dr Sim Kui Hian, witnessed by Weida Group executive chairman Dato Lee Choon Chin, SMK St Joseph Board of Management member Dato Sri JC Fong and others.

The restoration of the Mill Hill Block which started in

August will cost RM5.5 million and 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 school learning experience.

Through government grants and donations from former students and well wishers enough funds have been raised to start the initial phases of the restoration work, but the whole project is still short of RM2.5 million.

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 high Mill Hill 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 January 1895 issue of the Sarawak Gazette described the new St Joseph’s building as “the largest private work carried out in 1894 and indeed the largest building in Kuching”. In 1927, the three-storey two wings were added.

The century-old main building which has withstood the test of time needs repairs while the two wings which had significantly deteriorated were certified by Public Works Department (JKR) as unsafe for occupation. With the closure of the two wings, the school lost the use of 12 classrooms.

Those interested to contribute to the restoration fund can bank-in their donation to Maybank account 511113 526004 under the name of SJS Mill Hill Block Restoration.

Members of the public can email their banking information to [email protected] if they require a receipt or call the school at 082-240885 for further enquiries.