A new chapter in the Rodney Park Village history was started on May 31, when the sod was turned on a $20m redevelopment of the residential aged care facilities in Mooroopna.
To be known as Mooroopna Place the newly redeveloped building will include an additional 10 residential care beds, bringing the total to 100. Mooroopna Place was the previous site for Waratah Lodge, Grevillea Lodge and Boronia House that each held 30 beds. Residents from those facilities were temporarily moved to Hakea Lodge and Maculata Place at Tarcoola late last year.
Redevelopment of the site is due to begin in June with building contractors AW Nicholson Construction committing to providing between 6 and 10 local traineeships, and employment for more than 150 people over the course of the build expected to be finished in September 2020. Additionally, AW Nicholson Construction has committed to sourcing the majority of contractors for the project from the Shepparton and district area.
The sod was turned by Shepparton Villages Life Member, former president and Rodney Park Village pioneer Barry Campbell.
Mr Campbell headed up the Tarcoola Building Committee in the late 1980s with the specific goal of establishing Mooroopna’s first and only not for profit residential care facility for the aged. Aided by Santo Varapodio who headed the fundraising committee along with an energetic committee, they raised in excess of $1 million – an extraordinary result at the time – and played a pivotal role in the establishment of Waratah Lodge which was opened in July 1990. Boronia House and Grevillea Lodge followed in November 2002. Barry Campbell was president of Shepparton Retirement Villages in 1989 and 1990, and again in 2003-2005.
Federal Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum spoke at the sod turning, paying tribute to Shepparton Villages Board and management for their continued investment into aged care.
Board President Frank Dawson said Mooroopna Place is the second significant project and investment that Shepparton Villages has made over the last three years, with the completion of the $34m Maculata Place in Shepparton opening in October 2018.
“The Board of Management has been incredibly focused on providing the best possible infrastructure for the elderly in our region, which continues the commitment made by the Rotary Club when Shepparton Villages was first started over 50 years ago,” Board Chair Frank Dawson said.
“The Mooroopna Place redevelopment holds significant historical significance, with many Mooroopna community members as well as the Rotary Club of Mooroopna involved in the initial construction of Rodney Park, and to this day, it remains the only aged care facility in Mooroopna, so we are very keen to ensure it mirrors the standards we have applied in Shepparton at Maculata Place,” Mr Dawson said.
Morning tea followed the event with a chance to view some plans for the new build, due to be completed in September 2020.