Box Hill’s new education and health precinct

Photo (l-r):  Salvation Army Box Hill Captain Kevin Lumb, Box Hill Institute Chief Executive Officer Norman Gray AM and Epworth Eastern Executive Director Louise O’Connor

After years or brainstorming and negotiating, a tri-partite arrangement has been signed between Epworth Eastern, Box Hill Institute and the Salvation Army for a new Health and Education precinct located in the heart of Box Hill.

A ground-breaking agreement between Box Hill Institute (BHI), Epworth HealthCare and the Salvation Army will drive significant long-term education, health and community benefits for Box Hill, currently Melbourne’s fastest growing city outside the CBD.

The sophisticated agreement, negotiated over three years, will facilitate the urgently-needed expansion of Epworth Eastern and allow BHI to develop a state-of–the-art nurse training facility to supply the hospital’s nursing requirements. It will also allow a significant upgrade to BHI’s music, fashion and arts facilities and see the Salvation Army move to a new purpose-built facility in Whitehorse Road.

Funded by the sale of part of BHI’s campus to Epworth Eastern, and the offer of residential development of up to 29 storeys above the nurse training centre, the redevelopment will be self-funded and represent a dramatic saving for the Victorian taxpayers.

Sale of the air rights is expected to be finalised next year.

When completed, the project will add up to 1,568 residents, workers and students to the precinct, generating an extra $9m a year to the local economy.

Today’s Memorandum of Understanding between BHI and Epworth will cement BHI as the sole enrolled nursing training provider for Epworth Eastern. BHI will also deliver the education and training requirements for a new generation of enrolled nurses, patient care assistants, allied health assistants, theatre technicians, food handling, environmental management, maintenance, and ward management courses.

A commercial arrangement allowing students to operate the hospital’s café and florist will allow them to gain hands-on retail and commercial experience in future developments.

Unveiling the project today, BHI Chief Executive Officer Norman Gray said Epworth Eastern’s future expansions will provide new beds and create many new full time jobs.

“Construction of the hospital expansion and the new Salvation Army facility will generate up to direct and indirect 8,600 jobs,” Mr Gray said.

“We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement that will drive benefits for the entire Box Hill community.

“Working in partnership with Epworth, we have managed to address inadequate facilities, provide employment in the health sector and optimise our student experiences,” he said.

Epworth Eastern Executive Director, Louise O’Connor, said that the entire hospital community has welcomed the opportunity to work more closely with BHI and the Salvation Army.

“Over the last decade we have proudly strengthened our community ties within Box Hill and the City of Whitehorse, but today is a significant milestone in our communal purpose. Today we celebrate a thriving education and health precinct as partners,” Ms O’Connor said.

BHI Chairman, Jack Diamond said, “Thanks to our Board for working through the complex matters, and the State government and the City of Whitehorse for their support.”

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