Final touches for student accomodation

IT'S A WRAP: After 18 months MASHSG members Darrell Looker, Simone Berry and Ron Wood are glad to be finalising the project. Picture: CAROLINE HAMMAT

Caroline Hammat

It has taken around 800 hours of work over the last 18 months to reach the final stage of upgrading the Millicent Hospital’s old nurses quarters.

Opened in 1964, alongside the newly built hospital, it was originally known as the Matron’s House.

The building eventually expanded for student accommodation and it currently offers a place to stay for trainee nurses during their six week placements at the hospital.

Over the years the building and fittings had become tired, dated and unsuitable for housing five students of mixed genders.

In December 2022 the Millicent and Surrounds Health Support Group (MASHSG) and Millicent Hospital Health Advisory Council began work on the three part project by gutting the bedrooms.

Stage one of the project resulted in a complete fit out of the bedrooms with new carpets and paint throughout.

The rooms were each equipped with a new desk, wardrobe, side table, bed, mattress, lamps and window fittings.

A brand new kitchen was installed as part of the second stage of the project with re-tiling, new flooring and tapware part of the upgrade.

The final stage of the project was the bathroom upgrade completed during the weekend which separated the toilet from the bathroom.

Until the renovation the bathroom was a single room with shower, basin, bath and toilet.

MASHSG member Simone Berry said volunteers had helped to remove the old toilet, installed a new wall and created a new entrance to the toilet.

Rather than remove the existing bath a bench now covers it with individual storage space for students to keep personal items in.

“Millicent Lions have been amazing, Dave Taylor has done all the framing and constructed the new wall” she said.

“He has done so many other little jobs that have saved us a huge amount of work.

“Quentin Pietsch has popped in to do the electrics because we have had to move some wiring and Big Trev has been doing the plumbing.

“Harley Linnell came in and removed the old besser brick wall which was a nasty job.”

Final touches added over the weekend were the installation of a new shower screen and new mirrors.

Tempered glass tops were also added to the study desks and side tables in each of the bedrooms.

Upgrades have allowed the hospital to charge nominal rent for the rooms.

“The idea was that as we updated, the hospital could then charge rent for the accommodation” Ms Berry said.

“That money goes back into a kitty and then if a mattress or furniture needs replacing or if something goes wrong there is money there to look after it.

“Previously no rent was being charged as the accommodation was in pretty poor condition.”

Members of MASHSG spoke highly of the wide support they have received throughout the project and acknowledged the KCA social club who contributed $5,000 for stage three.

To complete the project a sign will be installed to thank all partners and benefactors who have contributed to the renovation.

The current nursing students stayed at a local caravan park for a week while the work was completed.