Williamston Hospital has been given a new lease of life with the completion of the 'Heart of Williamstown' project in mid-July.
The $2.5m project involved the redevelopment of key public areas within the hospital to create a central visitor hub that will benefit future generations of patients, visitors and staff.
Designed by Barbara Bamford Architects and delivered by construction partner Plan Group, the new internal space includes a vastly-expanded visitor and patient lounge area, creating a light-filled space overlooking landscaped courtyards complete with a covered walkway for easy access to the nearby hospital café.
The design remains faithful to the existing heritage features of the building while providing for a modern functional space to support the growing demands of the hospital.
Construction commenced in July last year, and despite the challenges of the heritage infrastructure, working in and around a fully-functional hospital, plus the added challenge of COVID-19 restrictions, the project was delivered on time and on budget.
The project was made possible by donations from the local community.
"This project is a testament to the power of good philanthropy," says Julia White, Director of the Western Health Foundation.
"It has been fully funded by donations from people who live in and around Williamstown. We are so grateful to the local community for getting behind us to invest in this project."
The campaign to fund the project was undertaken over a four-year period and was aptly named the 'Heart of Williamstown' campaign to not only reflect the centrality of the new space in the hospital, but also the significance of the hospital to the local community.
"As a long-time resident of Williamstown, I understand how important this Hospital is to the local community," says Jenny Sadler, Western Health Foundation Board Member and a member of the Heart of Williamstown Appeal Steering Committee.
"It has been a part of so many people's lives here for many generations. This new space continues a legacy of community support for the hospital which was first opened over 130 years ago through a community appeal."
Due to the current limitations on visitor access and distancing requirements of COVID-19, the new space is currently not accessible to the public, however an official opening is being planned to take place when it is appropriate to do so.
"We can't wait for the community to see this new space and to celebrate what a remarkable achievement this is", says Julia.
"In the meantime however, people can get a sneak preview by watching our video on YouTube or by viewing photos on Flickr."
"On behalf of the Western Health Foundation, Western Health, and the staff and patients of Williamstown Hospital, I would to thank the members of the Appeal Steering Committee for their leadership and commitment in engaging the community in this project, and of course thanks to our wonderful donors who helped make this all possible."