The Mill Hill Block at SMK St. Joseph, Kuching will undergo an extensive restoration over a period of 7½ months to restore the buildings to its former glory. YB Dato` Sri Professor Dr. Sim Kui Hian, the Sarawak Minister of Local Government & Housing (the current president of the Old Josephians’ Association) was at the school to witness the hand-over of the site to the appointed contractor, Fook Seng Construction, by the Acting Chairman of the St Joseph’s School Board of Management, Mr. Christopher Chua on 7th August 2020. Also present at the handing-over ceremony was the Archbishop of the Kuching Archdiocese, His Grace Archbishop Simon Poh, who later led a prayer for the safe execution and smooth completion of the project. Upon completion, the school will have 9 classrooms restored for use by its students, upgraded school office and staff rooms for its staff and teachers, and new facilities like exhibition hall and lecture room where the teachers and students can organise events as part of their school learning experiences.
The Mill Hill Block, iconic not only to St. Joseph’s School but also to the history of Sarawak, is of such historical importance that, in 2010, the Sarawak Government gazetted the main building as a Heritage Building under the Sarawak Cultural Heritage Ordinance 1993. This main building used to house the De La Salle Brothers. The Mill Hill Block is made up of three buildings – the main building in the centre and its two wings. The main building was declared opened in 1894 by Rajah Charles Brooke, the Second White Rajah of Sarawak. Standing at three-storey high, 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”. This main building has stood the test of time and is still standing strong. It is a durable symbol of the proud history of the school. In 1927, two wings, each also three storeys high, were added to the main building. All three buildings are in need of repair. Both of its wings have suffered significant deterioration and have been certified by Jabatan Kerja Raya as unsafe for occupation. The closure of the two wings had resulted in 12 classrooms becoming unavailable for use by SMK St. Joseph resulting in a shortage of classrooms.
The restoration will cost RM5,500,000. The School’s Board of Management has to-date raised RM2,500,000 through fund raising activities together with its Old Josephians’ Association, including a RM1,500,000 grant given to the School by the Sarawak Government. There is a need to raise another RM3,000,000 in a short span of about 7½ months to meet its commitment towards the Project. The School’s Board of Management is making an earnest and urgent appeal to all ex-Josephians to help meet this RM3,000,000 fund raising target. Donations can be made into the following bank account with Maybank:
Acct Name: SJS Mill Hill Block Restoration
Acct No: 511113526004
For those requiring a receipt for their contribution, kindly email your donation deposit slip to email@example.com. With your help, St Joseph`s School will be able to continue providing premier education to the youth of Kuching.
Construction in Progress