Donors and members of the Heart of Williamstown Steering Committee, breaking ground on the new Heart of Williamstown project. L-R: George Kallifidas, Wayne Sweeney, Jenny Sadler, Carol Willis, Peter Sadler Sr. The Hon. Ralph Willis AO, together with Western Health CEO, Russell Harrison.
Renovation works are now underway at Williamstown Hospital with the new Heart of Williamstown project officially 'breaking ground' on Tuesday 15 October.
The first soil was turned over by builders who were ably assisted by appeal patrons, donors, key board members and members of staff. In attendance were; The Hon Ralph Willis AO and Carol Willis, George Kallifidas, Jenny Sadler, Wayne Sweeney, Peter Sadler Snr, Karen Bolinger, Cuc Lam and Russell Harrison.
The Heart of Williamstown project has been made possible due to the generosity of patrons and the local community who raised $2.5 million over the last three years. Included in this amount is over $500K raised through the volunteer-run Williamstown Op Shop on Ferguson Street.
The ground breaking marks an important milestone in celebrating the work that has gone into planning and raising funds for the project.
Jenny Sadler, Western Health Foundation board member, project steering committee member and Williamstown resident, spoke of the significance of Williamstown Hospital to the community.
"As a community, we are very proud of our hospital. While many suburban hospitals have closed, Williamstown Hospital continues to thrive and be an asset. It's exciting to see the renovations get started. Patients, visitors and the people of Williamstown will benefit from the improvements and the new spaces that will be created," she said.
The redevelopment includes a vastly-expanded modern 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. There will also be specific spaces for families and small groups to gather, along with extensive outdoor seating and additional public toilet facilities. The improvements and upgrades will remain faithful to the heritage of the hospital.
Former Western Health Chair, Hon Ralph Willis AO has an emotional connection to the hospital. "Two of my children were born at the Williamstown Hospital and my father passed away here. It's wonderful to see the improvements being made which will increase the functionality in the heart of the hospital," he said.
Well-known local businessman Wayne Sweeney acknowledged the impact of the growing population in Williamstown and surrounding areas. "It's critical that our facilities accommodate the growing population. The open courtyard and entertainment areas will provide space and light for people to recover and enable them to get out of their room and venture into a modern landscaped area with fresh air and sunshine," he said.
Whilst work is underway, plans are in place to minimise any disruptions to patients and their families.
The completion of the project and official opening of the new areas are expected in mid-2020.