Deputy Director of The Fine Arts Department, Mr Kajon Mookmeeka, visited the 100-year-old building together with architect and chief of Thalang National Museum Ms Sukkamon Wongsawan following complaints from locals that the building would be demolished making way for a new hospital building.
The issue of residents campaigning against the demolition went viral after being posted on Facebook by Watanyoo Thephuttee and the local culture office with a message asking people to join the campaign to save the classic building which was built in the reign of King Rama VI. (See story here.)
Mr Kajon said, “After learning that Vachira Hospital was considering demolishing this Sino-Portuguese building we came to inspect it and consult with the director of the hospital. However, we have now learned that the building will not be demolished and that an alternative location is being sought for the new hospital building.
“The Boonphat Building along with two others – the Ranong and Sripatcharintaranusorn buildings – which all sit within the grounds of the hospital are already registered the Fine Arts Department already,” he said.
“Having inspected all three buildings, we found that both the Boonphat and Ranong buildings have a fair amount of damage. Therefore we will have compare the buildings now to old photos so we can see how much damage their actually is and what will have to be renovated.
“A proposal has already been sent to the Fine Arts Department regarding renovation off the Sripatcharintaranusorn Building, and that work has been estimated at B3.6 million,” he added.
Vachira Hospital Deputy Director, Mr Somboon Wangteatum, added, “Following a meeting between the hospital’s management and those who opposed the demolition of the Boonphat Building last Wednesday (Aug 25) it was agreed that the demolition would not take place.
“It has now been agreed that the building will be used as a medical museum which will feature items such as the first X-ray machine used at Phuket Vachira Hospital which came from Singapore,” he said.